We have a favorite story that usually gets shared at least once a year in our family gatherings. Even though our children were all young when it happened, (in fact our daughter wasn’t even born yet,) each one could probably repeat the story verbatim now, since they’ve heard it throughout their growing-up years. And yet half of the fun comes as questions are asked while my husband retells the event. Lots of laughter and amazement usually follow the telling.
Do you know that feeling as shared memories are retold?
Apparently it’s pretty important to God to keep those memories alive as well. Over and over again in the Scriptures, the phrase “through all generations” is repeated. But more than just the fun of sharing memories, there is a greater reason that God tells us to pass along the stories:
“So the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.” Psalm 78:6-7 (NIV)
Somehow, in the telling of God’s miracles, we are conveying to our children the faithfulness of God. We are passing along the faith that has sustained us. And in that telling we are hopeful that our children would “catch” the faith that we ourselves have come to depend upon.
After all, we’ve heard the saying that “Faith is ‘caught’ more than ‘taught.'” Isn’t that the way it goes?
Oh, but that is where we as parents can set ourselves up for disappointment. I believe that God never expected us to take that responsibility upon ourselves. In fact, in the telling, we are to make sure that the knowledge of God–true “knowing” Him is what we are pointing our children to.
No matter how many times we tell our family story of driving over the Wolf Creek Pass during the middle of a snowstorm, and no matter how exciting the story revs up as we describe the car that suddenly appeared in front of us, to “guide” us flat-landers through the storm, it is after all, a story held mostly within our own memories. Even our oldest son, Joel, who was 5 at the time, barely remembers the experience.
But this Mama heart remembers it well: the fear in all of our hearts, the little boy’s question “Are we gonna be ok?” the Dad’s tense response, “Just pray!!” and the little boy’s trust in Jesus that led him to utter heartfelt prayers. And those are the kinds of memories that a Mama tucks away in her heart.
When the hard seasons roll around, and the faith gets questioned, a Mama brings out those memories to lay before our Faithful God. And those are the tellings that God longs to remember as well. Those are the miracle moments that can never be taken away from the deep places of a heart that appears to be wandering with no return. Our Lord holds onto the truth of those memories, just as He holds onto our children.
A few weeks ago, I came across an old email that our oldest son Joel had sent to me. It came at a time, years ago, after his faith had reached a shaky and particularly low spot. As he was lifting his heart to the Lord once again, he called me to tell me that an email would be coming, and could I find a Scripture to pair with a poem he had just written?
This Mama’s heart leapt at the chance, and rejoiced at the telling of another God-made-miracle. All these years later, it’s just as fresh as it was that day so many years ago:
“Without a hope
Without a dream
I wander lost
What does it mean?
Fall and push
Push and fall
It’s a gridlocked wall
There is no peace
Inside this prison
What’s real is hidden
I have known Truth
That wrought my heart
You filled my life
Lies ripped apart
I was Your child
I knew Your smile
We shared it all
Over – ever – while
I need Your love
I’m not complete
I’m at Your feet
You are so patient
Your arms are open
I breathe You in
Drift in Your ocean
I have known lies
But it’s in the past
My heart is changing
And it will last”
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1 (NIV)
How could I have known that the verse the Lord prompted me to give to Joel over a decade ago, would be the tagline for our website in this place for Beloved Prodigals? May our Faithful God point us to the beauty of knowing Jesus, and to the miracle of praying for that same knowing for our children.
May I pray with you today?
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that You are the true miracle working God! Oh, how amazed we are that You would call us to join in with You, and watch You bring miracles into our lives. We confess that most days our own faith seems so small. We would rather hold onto our own stories instead of looking to see Your Grace within those stories. Would You open our eyes to see the wonder of You in the midst of our days? And would You help us to hold onto those true memories, where You have reached down and captured our very hearts? We ask You to stir those same memories in the hearts of our loved ones. Draw them back into Your loving embrace, and bring them step by step into Your heart.
In the name of Jesus we pray,
~~Bettie, for Beloved Prodigal.
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