I have been working on gathering family stories and trying to fill in the gaps of our family tree for many years. I love to hear my mom tell stories about her childhood and that keeps me going. The other day I was asking about her father. He was generally a happy sort of guy, but it stopped me flat in my tracks when mom told me about his distress when his father gave the family farm to his sister and her husband who didn’t farm instead of to my grandfather who kept the farm going through drought and hard times. In my younger days, I thought about how progressive my great-grandparents were to leave the family wealth to the daughter instead of the son. I admit that I cheered them on. But, over the years I have heard more and more stories about how my grandpa worked so hard during the Great Depression and beyond to keep the farm viable. He lived in a partially burnt two-bedroom home on the homestead with his wife and four children. He, his wife and children suffered hardships but they deeply loved their extended family. So when grandpa found that the family farm was being given to his sister and her husband, hearing his response was jarring. He asked his father how he could take the farm from him, but just as quickly, he begged forgiveness. I had to sit quietly and pray about that response.
We have the opportunity to choose to honor or dishonor God each time our expectations do not meet reality. Grandpa’s reaction was a Godly response in that he quickly repented of disgracing both his earthly father and in turn his heavenly Father. This was such a powerful moment that it is entwined in family history and is being recounted seventy years later. This moment caused me, his granddaughter that he never met, to meditate on my sinful nature and to repent. What a gift I was given through that one moment!
In 2 Corinthians, we read:
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:15-16 (NIV)
I praise God that He is in control of providing blessings, not me. I praise God that He allows us to ask forgiveness and to repent. I praise God that He asks us to forgive others. I thank God that He has given us a way through His son, Jesus Christ, to be forgiven and to receive eternal life and more blessings than we hope to deserve. What a day it will be when I can finally meet my grandpa and thank him for helping me.