This has been a somewhat strange week for me. Doug and I spent time going through old papers and photos of family members who lived generations ago. Yes, there were photos of Mom and Dad, but in addition to those, there were photos of our maternal grandparents when they were still in their twenties – photos that I have never seen before. It was strange to see a photo of my grandfather holding a rod and reel, smiling as he showed off his catch from Lake Wawasee, a famous lake located here in Indiana between our home and Chicago.
What caught me by surprise was that all these things have been stored since the death of Mom back in 1998 and since we recently moved our youngest brother, Ken, to a new apartment, we went through old boxes to see what kinds of family heirlooms have been hidden from sight for so many years. There were letters to Dad from his mother when he served overseas in WWII and there were even pictures he had colored and essays he had written when he was in Sayre Grammar School, in Chicago, in the late 1920’s.
We even located the high school diplomas presented to Dad and Mom as well as invitations to birthday parties for Dad when he turned 5 years old. It was almost surreal to think that all three of us brothers are older than Dad was when he died back in 1978. On another note, Dad’s Mom, who we called Grandma Toussaint, was born 124 years ago on August 27th.
She was a deeply religious woman who had numerous Bibles and usually gave Bibles as gifts. In fact, I have several Bibles that she gave various family members throughout the years and Tuesday night Doug and I located one given to Dad when he was a little boy. Our maternal grandparents also believed in God and while they weren’t as overt in their faith, there was no question that they believed in Jesus and read the Bible.
As I looked at all the photos of old cars, noticing the lack of technology in a simpler world, reading names of friends and family that I heard about growing up, I got to thinking about all the changes that have happened during the past 150 years. My great grandparents would be amazed at how life has changed since their birth. Yet through it all, God has been constant. In fact, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And that should bring us comfort that God is steadfast.
As I reflect back on the influences of both sets of grandparents in our lives, I can’t help but remember that they read the King James Bible and they all considered the 23rd Psalm their favorite passage. It only seems fitting, that in this week so filled with memories from the past and photos going back generations, that the 23rd Psalm should be our verse for the night, in the King James Version.
The psalmist tells us, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
My encouragement tonight is that God is with us always – through the good times and the difficult times. My prayer is that we can pray to the same God that our ancestors prayed to – probably bringing similar concerns to the Father and His Son as our ancestors did. And that is comforting – resting in the fact that God is constant and reliable and dependable and all the others adjectives that we can possibly think of that speak to His constancy throughout all eternity. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…