Is it age, nostalgia or wisdom that causes us to see what others take for granted? At times I find myself standing on a precipice and seeing across time even when in simple situations. Part of that is a growing awareness of how God interweaves our lives to accomplish His purpose. Especially lives that on the surface don’t appear to be connected. One such moment happened this weekend, when my son and his family came to visit from Alexandria, VA. There were several times when we got all the kids and grandkids together, and the gatherings were great and enjoyable. It had been a year since Ben and his family had been in Kansas City. I must be honest, nine young grandkids can be chaotic. They yank so hard at your attention.
We had several gatherings, but one thing was clear, our family of six kids and four spouses and nine grandkids enjoy spending time together. They visit, talk, communicate and play. They care for one another. I am proud of that, for I have seen far too many broken families.
Although my attention was on my family this weekend, especially my grand children, at one point I found myself standing on that precipice of time again. Oddly enough it was because of my grandchildren. In the picture you see 4-year-old Laila having a simple conversation with 5-year-old cousin Claire. They were simply sitting on the steps of Tonya’s home having a great time, enjoying the 74 degree weather in January! To them it was a moment that quickly passed, soon forgotten. Their mother’s were watching with joyful hearts, and to them it was a warm but fleeting moment. I saw something entirely different, for God had transported my mind to that precipice again, the one with His view, His Eternal View.
Unknown to my family visiting and having fun around me, I was transported back to a day in March 1995. It was Sunday, March 26th, and the weather was warm and sunny like it was for Laila and Claire. Instead of this home being Tonya’s and her husband Ben, it was where our entire family lived. Tonya and Ben were high school sweethearts. There were no grandchildren yet. We were coming home after church. When we drove into our driveway, we saw my brother Tim sitting on those same steps. He wasn’t laughing. His face was red. His expression made my stomach sicken. I knew something was wrong. I jumped from our Van and Tim cried out “He’s dead! Dad’s dead!” Time came to a screeching halt. Even now the tears flow from my eyes.
There Laila and Claire sat, oblivious to the eternal power of their great-grandparents prayers, oblivious to that painful moment that rocked my world 17 years ago at this very spot. They may not realize it now, but they will. God holds them in His hand. They are His, and they will come to know Him as their Creator God. This will happen not because of any special talent or ability they may have. This will happen simply because God takes His possessions seriously. And my parents gave my grandchildren to God. They dedicated them to Him, even though they never got to see them. My wife and I continue in those very prayers. And now, we kneel on that same precipice, and pray for that same Godly Heritage.
Our Eternal Connection
My grandchildren are connected across eternity with Jim and Clare Tompkins. Their children will share the same connection. One day my children will recall my prayers for their children and grandchildren. And so God will continue His work, His Will on earth, because my Dad and Mom took His Word seriously, and prayed that His will would be done in their family, just as His will is done in heaven.
One day, perhaps soon, I will stand with my parents and see how God’s grace has worked and is working in our family. I will know how God works through our prayers and concerns. I will fully understand the importance of a Godly Heritage. And my prayer today is that my children and grandchildren will take my place on that precipice of eternity, the unseen precipice that only those who see with the eyes of the Holy Spirit can stand and kneel upon. For when you stand there, seeing as God sees, you pray!
Joseph Could See that which was Eternal
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. Genesis 49:22
However, I believe God wants us to realize that, as His Sons, we are plants, and our children and grand children are branches. They are connected to us in a real sense, an eternal sense. When we see our connectedness, we will see the need to pray far into the future. For only as we grow strong through our connectedness will we be able to climb the wall, or as I see it, overcome barriers and enemies. This is what Joseph experienced.
The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. Genesis 49:23-25
Joseph was a dreamer, a man who saw things that others did not. His brothers treated him cruelly, and his response was “what you meant for evil, God meant for God!” Joseph knew that precipice, stood with a view to eternity. Joseph survived all those hardships because he could see his connectedness with his family and with God’s purpose. Do you? Do you live with a view of eternity? Are you afraid to stand on that precipice of time and see your connectedness? Do not go there if you see no value in prayer.
As I talked with my kids on that painful porch, we recounted the neighbors that had died while we lived there. One troubled teen had perished in a car crash as he was fleeing the police. That family later moved away, broken and defeated, the parents later divorcing. Another neighbor, a father experiencing tremendous back pain from repeated operations, took his own life. Years later, his son committed suicide as well.
Tragedy happens in our lives, in our families. It happened in Joseph’s life and among his family. How your family handles that tragedy will depend upon whether you see the God who controls the precipice of eternity, whether you are willing to see your life from His point of view. He who overcomes the wall and stands firm to the end is the one who sees the connectedness of family, even those you will never see. You must be willing to kneel on that precipice of eternity before the throne of the one who holds eternity in His hands.
Will your family be a fruitful bough? Will your family grow into a Godly Heritage? Are you able to SEE Him who is invisible? He stand firm to the end who can SEE!
For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Psalm 61:5