I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. II Timothy 1:5 (NIV)
As I reminisce on a Sunday afternoon, let me tell you a little story the passage of scripture above brings to mind.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother [Betty] …
If you’ve read my blogs or books, you know I come from a large extended family on my maternal side. Since my mother was the youngest of sixteen children, she had many nieces and nephews who were her age, grew up with her, and were more like brothers and sisters, such was Betty. Mama and Betty looked so much alike that some strangers wondered if they were twins. So, I have always referred to Betty as Aunt Betty. Betty had six children. Susan was the fifth child, a couple of years younger than I. Being a close family, I remember being at Betty’s house with my cousins the first ten years of my life in California. I remember she was always busy taking care of the family, cleaning house, cooking, and entertaining family. Once, I was with my mother at a Stanley home party hosted by Betty. Mother pointed to a rack holding hostess gifts and said she would host a party like Betty and earn two of the white zippered Bibles for me and my sister. I remember frequently finding Betty in a room praying and petitioning God while about her domestic work. Her prayers reminded me of Grandpa’s – with much fervor, supplication, and many tears. I remember spending the night on Saturday nights on occasion, and she made sure everyone was up and dressed for church Sunday morning. We walked to church – not because they didn’t own a car, but because it was a beautiful sunny day and was just a short few blocks. She was dressed to the nines in heels and a nice dress. She cried and prayed throughout much of the service. In my eyes, she was a spiritual giant.
One day, my mother shared with me how Betty became that humble giant. It was a brief conversation of two or three minutes but one I never forgot. As the story goes, Betty had sown a few wild oats as many of us have, although she had been taught right from wrong and knew the commandments of God from the Bible. One night as she was in a deep sleep, she awakened with the sound of a bold trumpet (much like the time my mother was awakened years later with a bold commanding voice). Betty was startled, sat up in bed, and thought she had missed the rapture, the call of God.
For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. … But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:2-8 (NIV)
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Matthew 24:38-41 (NIV)
It’s unfortunate these passages of scripture are sometimes used to scare people into obedience. I’ve learned over the years that we don’t need to threaten or scare. The Holy Spirit deals with each of us. And that is what happened with my Aunt Betty that night. She lived out the remainder of her days praying for her family and raising her children to understand the goodness, miracles, and grace of God.
… and in your mother [Susan]
I haven’t seen my cousin Susan for several years since we moved away and she relocated years later as well. We have stayed in touch via social media as adults, and that’s been nice. Faith has been a part of her entire life as instilled by her mother, Betty. One by one, Susan’s siblings have passed. She is the only one left. When I heard she had become gravely ill and death was knocking at her door, I immediately cried out to God for her healing along with many others. Her loving husband can’t give her up, and neither can I. I’ve wondered: “God, is her work done?”
and, I am persuaded, now lives in [her children and their children] also
A few nights ago, I dreamed that Susan walked out of the hospital and was driving a car. I sensed that we needed to keep praying – until … until we see her walk out of that hospital so that she, too, can continue the work and life that God had planned for her. Her family needs her, and we believe God is able and willing, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
Please join with me in praying for Susan, in Jesus’ name.