There is a gift my children have only half received. I feel in some ways like we’ve all been gypped, but then, that would be denying God’s wisdom. The other half will have to be given them by us, telling the old stories that can’t help but embed themselves into their impressionable consciouses.
They had four great-grandpas. Two they never met and a third is now gone. Their lives were and are full lives. Men who inspire, who unconsciously have affected who we are today. The world needs more like those four. True men.
They were immigrants, bilingual, hardworking men. They used their own hands to become who they were. They knew well the hardships of life. They saw war and poverty and tragedy. Some became elders in local churches; some did not even know of Christ until they were adults. They zealously raised their children in homes where God was number one, no matter what.
There is such a diluted view of gender roles today. Even among believers, there can be a strange twisting and excuse making for spineless, weak men.
Rob McCoy spoke with Dennis Prager in a recent podcast about their church staying open during the lockdown restrictions. He shared something that moved me and has stayed with me ever since. In the thick of fines and threats and difficulties his wife said to him, “Rob, I would rather be a widow than be married to a coward.”
It’s costly to refuse cowardice, to stand alone with God. It can land you in the hospital, it can strip you of any friends, it can take years to find healing.
But I want my kids to know that it’s not too hard. It’s not impossible. In fact, it is their duty and joy. It is far more costly to turn your back on God and His ways. I’m grateful I can gather them around and fill their hearts with stories seldom told of those gone before.
It wasn’t easy for one grandpa to stand up in front of his religious but absolutely ungodly family and declare he had trusted Christ as his Savior. He heard his Lord’s name blasphemed in the most awful ways. He was rejected and mocked, an object of ridicule and contempt. His faith never wavered. And that was only the beginning. Life is never easy but his Savior meant more than anything. His worn Bible open on the kitchen table told us that every morning we stayed the night. He didn’t have to tell his grandkids how much he loved his God. We could see it for ourselves.
There was the grandpa who was well respected in assembly circles but was unswayed by name or wealth or position. Politics were a bane in his mind. Name dropping and jostling for a place amongst the important were met with his rebuke. He was a fair, godly man. One who could withstand criticism and difficulty for his feet were firmly planted on his God.
Another grandpa could have become well-known. Some encouraged him to become an itinerate preacher. He instead moved to a remote place with a church so tiny it was comprised of only a few sisters. He was one of the first to preach to migrant workers, learning Spanish at an age most would deem it impossible. He never needed acclaim. Never wanted recognition. He didn’t need a certain paper to be an evangelist. It was enough to just quietly work for the Lord.
Some know more than others what Paul meant when he said, “all Asia is turned against me.” For one grandpa, he saw too much going on that went against God’s word. He taught the truth and suffered for it. Was rejected, “excommunicated”, labelled as a rebel. People were warned against being with him, in supporting him or being influenced by him. God’s Word was too dangerous to their positions. He never changed. God was too precious. Christ had done too much. A little suffering here below for an eternity of joy over there-it is more than worth it.
We wish we could have told those men how much their courage has trickled down. How their fight for the truth has become our fight. How it is our privilege to bear their banners. Our own cloud of witnesses.
Just yesterday we read of Micaiah, willing to share God’s word even though it went against what all the other prophets claimed. He went to prison for it. Jailed for the truth. We couldn’t help but tell the children that like Micaiah, like their great-grandpas, what others say and think does not matter. We must stand tall for God.
Christ knows, too, what it is to stand against the mob, the religious, the influential. “Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” The jesting, mocking response, “what is truth?!” He was scourged for the truth. He was beaten and nailed to a tree for it. He knows very well the cost that must be paid.
Lest we be weary and faint in our minds, then, let us look unto Jesus. There we find the fortitude to despise our own shame and run patiently for His cause.
I have two little boys. May they grow to be courageous men of faith whose blood runs deep on the beautiful truth of The Way. With God’s help, there’ll be no cowards for their wives.