From the Pastors' Desks

The Blessing of Generational Faith

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This past Sunday night I had another wonderful reminder of why Christian parenting matters. My brothers and sisters (and spouses) got together at Mom’s place, after the evening service, to sing and pray. The news of Randy’s cancer has hit us hard. We’ve been through hard things before – but most of it was decades ago. Losing our herd because of PBB was hard (1974). Watching the house burn down was hard (1979). My sister lost her firstborn to stillbirth (1981). But this has gotten our attention in a fresh, painful way. We don’t know yet what the prognosis is – but stomach cancer doesn’t sound good. It sounds terminal. It sounds like losing my little brother, and Tricia losing her precious husband, and the kids losing their beloved dad. And that’s enough to bring the ache to your throat and tears to your eyes.

But there we were, the old Blue Psalter Hymnal in our hands, singing the songs that have carried us through the years.

“To the hills I lift mine eyes, whence shall help for me arise?” (Ps 121). 

“Lord, teach thou us to count our days” (Ps 91). 

“Abide with me, fast falls the eventide. Help of the helpless, O abide with me.” 

“Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly.”

The trial brought a new acuteness to the familiar words. The poetry of prayers and promises comforting our hearts while bringing tears to our eyes. 

You see, we’ve been singing these songs all along. They are grooved into our family memory. I recall singing them as a child around the piano or in church. The tunes bring back the sound of my father’s bass voice, anchoring my tenor. There is a vividness to those memories.

There is something incredibly rich about singing the words which have carried generations of saints through their pilgrim journey. Psalm 121 is a great Psalm, but it is made all the richer because it was Grandpa’s favorite. It carried him through the storms and trials of his life – and it will carry us. These precious truths and tunes are the warp and woof of our life together. They have comforted us in the past, and we knew they would again.  Their timeless truths were made only more real by this present trial. 

God’s desire is precisely this: that parents would pass on the faith to their children, and they again to theirs – a multi-generational testimony to God’s faithfulness and preserving grace. Parents, teach your children well. They will face all the normal, devastating trials of this life. Give them the gift of the testimony of the generations. May the words of Psalm 90 be true for your family.

“Lord, through all the generations of the children of our race, in our trials and tribulations, Thou hast been our dwelling place.”  (Ps 90).

 

In His Service,

 

Pastor Dale

3 Comments

Praying for Randy and all of you. Hard thing to deal with I am so sorry. Rita
God guide and keep you all, until we’re home safely.
I am so sorry that your brother has to face this diagnosis. I am praying that it is treatable with good results and that the doctor is able to suggest the best course of action for the best result. I have a friend who had ground breaking surgery 30+ years ago with the removal of her stomach. Not due to cancer but ulcers and a surgical error. Not always easy as far as controlling what amounts you can eat at a given time, but doable.

You are all in my prayers.

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