It’s that time of year that I start to think about the past and this most recent week was no exception. I had to be out of town on a business trip for several days near Chicago and when I travel that direction, I usually stay with my younger brother, Doug. Monday evening I had dinner with a childhood friend – somebody I went to grammar school with, before I headed to see my brother. I think that it set the stage for the rest of the evening – a comforting trip down memory lane.
When I returned to Doug’s house, he was still out and busy with an evening engagement he had prior to knowing that I was coming to town. Anyway, as I waited at the house, watching a movie, I was looking around the room and noticing things from our past. A Christmas ornament here – a reminder from Christmases past sitting on Mom’s old dining room table over there… How many dinners I remember as a child sitting around that very table – in fact, I remember when Mom and Dad purchased it from Marshall Field’s when we were little.
And then, standing tall in the front hall, was the grandfather clock that stood watch marking time in the living room of our grandparent’s home on Winchester Ave. in Beverly Hills on the south side of Chicago. Grandpa would change the chime on the first of every month and Grandma used to require us to take our naps on the living room sofa as we listened to the “tick-tock” of the clock. Of course, we couldn’t get up until Grandma announced that our nap time was over. It never occurred to me that more than 60 years later I would still be seeing that majestic clock… a family heirloom.
Everywhere I turned, there were reminders of the childhood that Doug and I shared growing up with our parents. I even thought about the generations before us. Christmases with grandparents, uncles, aunts and so many others who are no longer with us. I reminded myself that I am 10 years older than Dad was when he died and I wondered what he would have thought about how Doug and I have lived our lives.
But then another interesting thought entered my mind. It occurred to me that I have known my brother Doug longer than any other living person on earth. That’s right. Mom and Dad are both gone. And all of our grandparents. Of course, I have known Doug longer than our younger brother, Ken, who was born after Doug was, so I guess I really have known him longer than anybody still around. When Doug returned home, I let him know that I was thinking about this and gave him the rationalization for my conclusion. He agreed with my assessment.
It’s interesting, however, that he hasn’t known me longer than anybody else alive. That’s because my older cousins met me, as well as a family friend or two, before Doug was born and so we discussed this topic for some time. It had never occurred to me before that this was the case.
It wasn’t long before I thought about God and how He fits into all this. We realize, as Christians, that God created us in His image but how long has God known us? Certainly before our parents or grandparents did…
The Bible tells us that God has known us before the foundations of the earth. Tonight’s verse is from Pauls’ letter to the Ephesians and we are told, in Ephesians 1:4-6, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
My encouragement this evening is that God has known each of us, and will know every Christ follower, forever. He thought about our creation and designed each of us before our mothers were even pregnant. There’s something very comforting about that. Also, the fact that He created each of us uniquely – with a specific purpose in mind. My prayer is that we will each fill our God ordained mission and that we will dwell with God forever – long after our earthly time has come to an end. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…