Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
There isn't really anything incredibly striking about this passage, but when I came across it while flipping through to another passage, it caught my eye and my heart. It speaks very loudly to where I am today and it makes perfect sense that God would use it to re-emphasize what was already on my heart.
My grandmother's body was laid to rest yesterday next to my grandfather, who passed away fifteen and a half years ago, and they are buried not far from the graves of my great-grandparents. Two generations of faith, whose bodies are gone but whose love and faithful service to the Kingdom live on forever.
When we got the news several weeks ago that Memaw was nearing death, it was not really a surprise, but what did kind of catch me offguard was a sudden feeling of isolation--not only geographically, but spiritually. The reality that those in my family that are counted among the faithful is dwindling to a mere handful was something that can't quite be explained, but it just didn't feel good. I wasn't praying for God to ease that feeling, but He did anyway! Within just days, we not only had $4200 in plane tickets provided to us (without costing us a single dime), but we also had $500 for incidental travel costs granted to us. The way the Lord provides for us through the Army never ceases to amaze me, but this time...well, when we got on that international flight in Frankfurt and saw that our flight attendant was a man we go to church with here in Germany, I coudn't help but laugh and say in prayer, "Ok, Lord, I get it...this is ALL You, and now You're just showing off!" That trip was not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination--we got "stuck" in the Dulles airport after losing a checked car seat and missing our connecting flight; we ended up arriving at our destination (still three hours from my parents' house, mind you) at midnight, totally worn-out...but God wasn't finished taking care of us. We got TWO hotel rooms for less than what one should have cost--all through the special deal with the USO and the mercy of a sympathetic hotel night manager.
The rest of our trip was freed up to concern ourselves with the more weighty tasks of saying goodbye to a grandmother who, quite frankly, everyone expected to pass away before we even hit the ground. But she held on, and over the course of our eleven days there, she drank in the sight of the great-grandchildren at her bedside. She seemed to perk up and come to life a bit, and was even doing well enough to speak a few precious words to all of us the day before we left. I got an "I love you too", which was more than enough to soothe my grieving heart even before she passed on, but what she told Pete was just the icing on the cake. She mumbled a few things about taking care of us when we get home, but when it came time to say goodbye to the last of our family members to walk out of the room, she said simply, "Have faith".
That was simple, but so profound. She passed on, leaving behind a legacy of faith, and her final words echoed the teachings she and generations before her had left for us. And in all of that commotion, in that whirlwind trip, we saw just a teeny snippet of the faithfulness of God to provide for us, and we got to see firsthand the victory over death that we have through Christ's blood. Memaw's body failed her and her mind wasn't always "there", but her soul and her spirit were wholly intact and ready to meet the God she loved.
That heritage of faith is not just important to me, it's what I live for. It's not just a part of my life, it's my ENTIRE life. It's that heritage of faith that I want to pass on to future generations, and it's the very reason I seek to see things through God's eyes. For that heritage of faith in the Lord and His covenant through the sacrifice of His son I am thankful. For the generations that went on before me, I am thankful. For the opportunity to be an instrument of God for the good of the Kingdom, I am thankful.