There’s been a run on graveyards these past years. Not because more people are dying, but because more people are connecting the dots in their family tree. There were some TV programs that show famous people pursuing the story of their family’s past, and those have fueled an explosion of interest in genealogy research. Just ask the librarians who are welcoming visitors from all over to their newly-enhanced genealogy resources.
How do I know? Oh, my wife and I were in some of those libraries, courthouses and graveyards. Not because of a recent fad, but because of a longtime interest in the roots and the heritage of our family. Apparently, God has some interest in it. Just look at all those genealogy lists in the Bible! Apparently, it matters where you come from.
I’ve been blessed to discover faith in my family tree. Not in every branch, but at the root. Recently, I held in my hand the 240-year-old will of the first Hutchcraft in America. I’ve got to confess my eyes filled with tears when I read what he wrote about where he had placed his hopes for eternity. Old Thomas said, “in the pardon for my sin through the merits of my Blessed Savior Jesus Christ.” It looks like great-great-great-great-great-great Granddad and I are going to be spending some time together in Heaven.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “Genealogies, Graveyards and Grandkids.”
Lights have gone on in my soul as I’ve stood back from the daily drama of my life and I’ve looked at the bigger panorama that’s represented by my family tree. And I’ve seen that God is working on something so much bigger than the limited landscape I can see from where I stand. And some things that have loomed too large suddenly look smaller against that huge divine tapestry.
I see the exciting prospect of how a seed of faith planted in one generation can blossom for generations I’ll never see – or imagine. Apparently, that seed in our family may have gone dormant at some points, but has always germinated again. As it did on the day my daddy found Jesus. When I did. When my children did. When my grandchildren did – or will.
These centuries of God-sightings were what the psalmist envisioned when he said: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18). I was that “people not yet created” when my six-great grandfather wrote about his blessed Savior. I’m thinking, “What more could I be doing to actively sow Jesus in the hearts of my children and my grandchildren?” And even if it’s hard to find love for Jesus in your family history, isn’t it amazing to think that you can plant His seed in your generation – and help change your family forever, for generations?
Learning about those who’ve gone before me has made me start asking, “Could it be that I am living the answers to the prayers of those who came before me?” And could it be that my grandchildren, who I love more than I can say, are – and will be – living the answers to my prayers if I rise to the challenge to faithfully intercede for them in the Throne Room of the God who is faithful to all generations?
I’ve also found myself adoring my God as the One who has been “our dwelling place throughout all generations” (Psalm 90:1). He is the glue, the continuity, the Sovereign Lord who is, in these seemingly “random” events of my life, putting together something beyond my imagination. Infusing my everyday with eternity.
One day I was about to spend some time climbing the family tree, my Bible study time led me to this amazing affirmation. It’s our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 41:4, “Who has done this and carried through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord – with the first of them and with the last – I am He.” Wow!
“O, Lord, help me to play my position in a way that will bless You and those generations yet to come. And may those who come behind me find me faithful.”