Last week, as I was on the verge of typing my column, my 101-year-old dad, David Grimes, had to be rushed to the Monroe County Hospital with breathing problems that, to me, seemed to be developing a couple of days before, only to really increase as I checked on him Wednesday morning.

I initiated his ambulance pick up from the nursing facility and as usual, and as so many of you know, our local E.R. crews did a great job. His work up by Dr. Frost in E.R. and his care at the hospital by a great bunch of nurses, aides, therapists and Dr. Curiel have been noble and caring. He has pneumonia, but for those of you who know my dad, the old soldier is giving it his best. Your prayers are critical.

As usual, the staff loves him. He doesn't complain, he lets cut a little quip that will bring a smile to anyone, and he is not afraid to tell a nurse or aide that he loves them and appreciates them for what they do for him. He is in the fight of his life, which is saying something for a WWII combat veteran and a man who right after the war suffered a ruptured appendix and was in a hospital for six weeks with gangrene. But your prayers, his care, and his faith and indomitable spirit give us a shot. When asked recently how he had managed to live so long, he gave a quick answer, “God has been good to me."

Therein is a truth all of us need to realize. God has been good to us. None of us deserve it. All of us are sinners. But as Paul said, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins." John 3:16 reminds us that He loves us and loved us first, even when we are so unlovable at times. Jesus left His glory above on a mission with one goal, to seek and save the lost. He offers all His amazing grace, unmerited favor. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. He listens to us at all times and never forsakes us or gives up on us.

As the great Christmas verse from Isaiah told us a month ago.... “He is Wonderful, Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Abraham pulled some fast ones; Jacob could be a deceiver; Moses had a hot temper and killed an Egyptian; Joseph was filled with pride; David was an adulterer and murderer; Elijah was beset with depression; Peter was arrogant and boastful and James and John were called the Sons of Thunder for a reason. The disciples as a whole were a handful. There isn’t a person in the Bible who wasn’t flawed but God's love was always available as available to them as it is us.

In the up times and in the down that fact remains ....God loves us. How we respond to that great truth is critical to our todays and tomorrows. And my dad is right when he says...God has been good to me. He has to all of us. The key question then for each of us is, "Do we really appreciate it and know it?” And, “How do we so live our lives to show our gratitude to Him for His love and goodness?” That is a question you alone can answer.

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