Several years ago – actually it was many, many years ago, while our children were still young – Judy and I observed a bumper sticker which is always been one of our favorites: “If we had known that grandchildren were so much fun, we would’ve had them first!”
We have had a very special week at our house. Each of our daughters and their children have been here for at least a few days. At one time we had six adults and seven children, not to mention two dogs, in our home. It’s been quite an adventure and we have a wonderful time together. Although we did miss our son and two sons in law, we were still overwhelmed with the blessings of family. Our daughters are quite good on Facebook and if you have a mind or interest, you can keep up with them there. There are photos of the kids and their activities including our birthday party at the beach.
Initially, one of the challenges was accommodation. Where was everyone going to sleep? There are seven of us who reside in our home regularly. Thus, the addition of six more persons presented a challenge. Although plans were initially made by the regular residents, it seemed as if each of the visitors had different ideas. Everyone wanted to be with each other but some also preferred to sleep with their family or mother. The excitement and anticipation of being together, together with travel and preparation produce some tired kiddies and mamas; the screened in side porch lost its appeal. Compromises were made; love was displayed and relationships strengthened and silent prayers were answered. “Love conquers a multitude of sins.”
So over the past week I have recognized and rejoiced in the blessings of the Lord through our children and grandchildren. Each one is unique and has been a delight to us. I’ve also been reminded of the Lord’s covenant faithfulness to his own. God’s promise to our spiritual father Abraham was that he would be his God and the God of his descendants following him. Both Judy and I have had the great benefit of growing up in Christian families with both of our parents and grandparents believers in the Lord. And now we rejoice in seeing not only are children, but also our grandchildren being brought up in a Christian environment. Praise to the Lord! He is faithful to his word.
Looking back, I marvel at the grace of God displayed through the process of family living. Grandparents, parents and children each little roles to play and responsibilities for fulfill. We each make mistakes and sin against one another and the Lord. But we also learn to love and cherish one another. Through mistakes and the working of the Holy Spirit, God teaches us to trust him more and obey him. He encourages us and strengthens us both individually and collectively.
As a father, I have both recognize my responsibilities and limitations. When we presented our children for baptism. We promised to raise them, “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” That is, we recognized our responsibilities to pray with and for our children, to read and teach them the Bible and to help them be involved in the life of the church. Although we think that we did the best we could under the circumstances, we were far from perfect, but we never gave up. It was the promise of God to be our God AND the God of our children that kept encouraging us. No matter how great the obstacles or how much things seem to be beyond our control, we knew that God had promised his love to us and to our children. God’s faithfulness to his promise always encouraged us.
My grandfather was an orphan, passed from house to house and family to family. I am not aware of any Christian influence in his upbringing, but somewhere through his difficult days he became a believer in Jesus Christ. Psalm 103 became one of his favorites Bible passages. This is also one of mine only because it was his but also because it celebrates God’s covenant faithfulness. There is a special word in the Old Testament sometimes translated as “steadfast love.” It is referred to as loving kindness in older versions. In His covenant with His people, God pledges to love them faithfully. He is the author of the terms of the covenant that bind Him and His people together. This word refers to his covenant love for his people – his binding promise, his special love.
Praise the Lord for his promises to you and your family as you worship the Lord and praise his name as you read this beautiful Psalm.
Psalm 103:title–22 (ESV)
1Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
7He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
8The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
10He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
15As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
17But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
18to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
19The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
20Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
21Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
22Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!