(Adapted from Jimmy’s newest book, When Life Hurts)
In Deuteronomy, God warned the people of Israel that he would punish the children for the sin of their parents to the third and fourth generations (Deut. 5:9). It’s a sobering thought: today’s disobedience can still have dire consequences decades from now.
But that’s not the entirety of God’s message to Israel. He follows His message of warning and wrath with words of hope and restoration: “…but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Deut. 5:10).
Do you see the difference? God says the impact of sin can reach for a few generations, but His compassion and blessing last for a thousand generations, ringing into the future far beyond what you and I can imagine.
It’s hard for me to grasp this concept. The thought that my small, seemingly insignificant acts of faith and obedience can impact my descendants a thousand years from now? That’s overwhelming. I can barely imagine it.
But I can imagine the spiritual impact my life will have on my precious twin granddaughters, Elle and Abby. They are 11 years old right now. If I close my eyes, I can picture them as adults…as beautiful as their grandmother is today, with her sweet spirit and kind disposition.I imagine they’ll eventually have their own kids, and grandkids, too. I wonder if Elle and Abby will remember the times Karen and I babysat them while their parents went out for dinner.
Will they remember our walks around the block? Our trips to the zoo? Our holidays and laughter around the table?
Will they remember the stories I read to them and the nights we wrestled in the living room?
I wonder if they’ll have a faded photo of Karen and me on the mantel, telling their friends about “Lollie and Pappy Evans,” their mom’s parents who grew up in Texas and once had their own television show. I wonder if they’ll have an old, worn-out copy of this book on their bookshelf. I hope so.
I don’t know the answers to those questions, but one thing I know for sure: my life, the choices I make today, the decisions I make hour by hour, will make a difference in the quality of my granddaughters’ lives.
My faith will impact their faith. My choices influence their choices. When I decide to trust God in every circumstance, that commitment will resonate in their future decisions to trust God…long after I’ve gone to be with the Lord in eternity.
I don’t ever want to take the promise of God’s blessing for granted. And I want my precious granddaughters—along with every generation after them—to be the spiritual beneficiaries of that divine blessing.
I hope and pray that for your children as well.