Many find history boring in a school book. What’s so exciting about people who lived hundreds of years ago? Who wants to hear about all the tragedies and struggles of people who’ve been dead for centuries? But learning the history of your own family is another story. Most of us are interested in where we come from, who are ancestors were, how they lived and where they lived. Were they of good reputation? What hardships did they face? How did they celebrate holidays, and what did they consider entertainment in a world without cars, phones, or indoor plumbing? And most important of all, did they put their faith in God?
In my family, we have journals, letters, and the documentation of the arrival of many of our ancestors from the “old countries” in Europe. Some arrived on these shores in the 1600’s; others came late in the 19th century and worked hard to achieve citizenship in America. We even have taped recordings from both of my parents and one of my grandmothers, sharing what life was like for them growing up decades ago. My grandmother and my dad are both gone now, so those recordings are priceless…
It’s important to know where we come from, not just because it’s interesting and gives us a sense of belonging and knowing who we are, but because our own faith in God can be strengthened, even born, from knowing who are family members were and how they lived. Every family has stories of happy celebrations, the births of babies, the hardships of travel to new lands, and survival and strength gained through tragedy. And these stories should be told. Psalm 78:4 is a beautiful passage reminding us of our privilege of sharing God’s faithfulness with those who come after us: We will not hide them from their children, but we will tell to the generations to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonderful works that He has performed. (Amplified Bible)
This verse sounds as though it pertains to mighty things that God has done, the miracles and happenings written in His Word. That is likely true, but so is the fact that God has done praiseworthy deeds, shown His might, and performed wonderful works in every family line—since the beginnings of time. Though their names are not in the history books of classrooms, our own families have stories. They may be in the scribbled writings of a family journal or well-worn bible, penned by hands that have lived long, celebrated, held new life for the first time, and wiped tears of grief. What has the Lord done for your family?
Oh Lisa, what a wonderful message! I don’t have many letters from the past. But what few I have are blessings. I also have had the blessing of Aunt who shared tidbits of information about my ancestors (several who were pastors.) I’m convinced that my faith is a result of my faithful ancestors’ prayers for their future generations. 🙂
Thanks for reading, and for the kind comments! Hoping to inspire others to learn about their family history, and pass it on!