Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Power Of Faith Stories - Fox
(The following is a guest post by Grace Fox, a popular international speaker and author of four books including 10-Minute Time Outs for You and Your Kids (Harvest House Publishers). Grace can be found at www.gracefox.com . This article first appeared in Insights Canada, June 2008.)
Several years ago I phoned my widowed grandmother and asked for a special favor. “Would you please write some stories about your past?”
Grandma chuckled. “Why do you want to know about me?” she asked.
I glanced at my children as they did their homework at the kitchen table. “Because it’s important for my kids to hear stories about faith throughout our family’s generations.”
Grandma hesitated. “There are many tales to tell,” she said. “Where would I begin?”
“Tell us about your childhood and about your immigration from Russia to Canada. Write about meeting Grandpa for the first time, and about your life as a young mother struggling to survive on a farm in Saskatchewan during the dirty 30s. Tell us how you came to know Jesus as your Savior, and how God has shown you His faithfulness through the decades.”
“Well…okay,” she said, hesitating. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Two or three months passed. One day an envelope arrived bearing Grandma’s return address. I opened it and read the letter to my children after supper that evening. In broken English, Grandma told of working as a human scarecrow – shooing hungry crows from a farmer’s corn – and receiving only a crusty dinner roll as a day’s wage. She spoke of her father’s disappearance during the Revolution, and of her mother setting a lantern in the window night after night, watching in vain for his safe return. She wrote about immigrating to Canada and of working as a 12-year-old nanny and household servant for a family whose language and culture she couldn’t understand. Time passed, bringing hardship upon hardship. But through them all, God proved faithful.
Food was sometimes scarce, but her family always had enough to survive. Medical care was scarce, too, but miraculously, help arrived at critical moments.
More time passed. Kids grew up and married. Grandkids joined the family. Financial burdens eased. Life settled into a welcome plateau, but then cancer struck and claimed my grandpa’s life. Once again, God proved faithful by placing Grandma in a close-knit community, surrounded by loving friends.
My kids listened quietly to the description of their great-grandmother’s heroic journey and of God’s faithfulness to her through life’s ups and downs. They said few words but their eyes spoke volumes, and I silently prayed that God would impress these accounts indelibly upon their hearts.
Faith stories are treasures to be passed from one generation to the next. In a culture that scoffs at spiritual truth, they offer living proof that God exists and is intimately involved in the lives of those who follow Him.
Scripture acknowledges their value and encourages us to do likewise: “I will teach you hidden lessons from the past—stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did…He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children so the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born—that they in turn might teach their children, so each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.” (Psalm 78:2-7 NLT)
When our children hear stories of God’s faithfulness to their ancestors, they’ll be encouraged to trust Him, too. Lord willing, someday they’ll repeat those stories to their own children. From generation to generation, God’s name will be honored and lives will be impacted for eternity. What’s more important than that?
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