Lead the Way to
"I know how much you trust the Lord, just as your mother Eunice and your grandmother Lois do...."
2 Timothy 1:5
Lois was a grandmother of distinction. She lived in a little town called Lystra, which was located in what is called Turkey today. Lois and her daughter, Eunice, were Jewesses who must have attended the synagogue in a town twenty-five miles from their home. Can you imagine the difficulty these two women must have had, traveling such a long distance by foot or by donkey, to worship?
One day a couple of unusual characters came to Lois's hometown and began to work miracles. Lois probably went to the local Laundromat, where the women pounded their clothes with stones, and heard the gossip. "Did you hear about old man Ben? You know, the one who crawls through the streets on his hands and knees? Well, you'll never believe it. This fellow by the name of Paul called to him and said, 'Stand up!' and just like that Ben leaped to his feet and started to walk!"
"A miracle worker! Imagine. Paul can't be a mortal man, he must be a god."
Lois may have gathered up her laundry and run to the town square to see this man. Along the way she stopped by her daughter's house and called, "Eunice, come on out. Bring Timothy along. Some miracle workers are in town, and the people are saying they are gods in human bodies!"
The two women, holding on to little Timothy's hands, fol-
lowed the crowds to the outskirts of the city. People were pushing cartloads of flowers, and some were leading their oxen along the dusty road to offer as a sacrifice to these strange "gods."
As they pushed their way through the curious onlookers, they saw two men, who were called Barnabas and Paul, shouting to the people, "Men! What are you doing? We're merely human beings like yourselves! We've come to bring you the Good News that you are invited to turn from the worship of these foolish things and to pray instead to the living God who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them."
Lois and Eunice must have looked at each other and said, "Who are they? They are Jews, but they don't speak like our rabbis."
Perhaps the women stayed and listened to what Paul had to say. They had studied the Old Testament Scriptures and had prayed for the coming of the Messiah.
A few days later, some Jews came into Lystra from Antioch and stirred the recently admiring crowd into a murderous mob. Instead of a shower of flowers, Paul was pelted with stones and dragged to the outskirts of the city, apparently dead. The Bible tells us (Acts 14:20) that those who believed his message about Jesus Christ stood around him, and suddenly he stood up and walked back into town.
I have no way of knowing, but I can't help thinking that Lois and her daughter were among those believers who watched the miraculous recovery of Paul.
Lois, a godly grandmother, and Eunice, a faithful mother, were the teachers and examples for young Timothy, who later became like a son to the Apostle Paul.
Did Timothy's grandmother lead him to Jesus? Probably not. However, her example, her teachings, and her faith were strong influences in his life. In one of Paul's letters to Timothy, he said: "You know how, when you were a small child, you
were taught the holy Scriptures; and it is these that make you wise to accept God's salvation by trusting in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
What can a godly grandparent do? We may plant the seeds that lead our grandchildren to seek and find Jesus Christ. It's not the preaching they hear, but the living we do that makes a difference in those precious young lives. Influence is never neutral. We're sowing seeds that will bear either a good or evil harvest.
One of the greatest women I have ever known told about a dream she had about her great-grandfather. They were walking together in a beautiful park, looking at the flowers growing in profusion along the path. He took his great-granddaughter by the hand and said, "When you sow some seed and put it in the ground, this seed will make a plant, and this plant will give seed again." He led her into the house and they sat down at the kitchen table, where he opened his well-worn Bible. "Girl, I will show you something that will never change. It is the Word of God. Plant the seeds from God's Book, and they will grow from generation to generation."
That girl was Corrie ten Boom, and the godly influence from her great-grandfather down through the generations resulted in the life of a woman who has led many spiritual children and grandchildren to know the Lord.
An energetic, mischievous young boy, Billy Frank, knew the stories about the heroism of his grandfather, a Civil War veteran. Grandfather was a one-legged, one-eyed Confederate who worked harder than most men who had two legs and eyes. When he returned from the war and began raising a family, he
made daily Bible reading and prayers a regular part of the family routine. His grandson, Billy Frank, benefited from the example of Grandfather Ben Coffey, when his own mother and father emulated that godly pattern.
Billy Frank is my friend, who was lead to Jesus by a fiery Southern evangelist, Mordecai Ham. But the example of his grandparents pointed him in the right direction. Billy Frank is better known as Billy Graham.
At a bridal shower for Julie, one of Tom's daughters, an elderly friend from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pasadena, where Tom ministered in music, said to me, "You have done a wonderful job with Tom."
I shook my head, "No, my mother did a wonderful job with him."
She looked at me, realizing that it wasn't modesty, but honesty that prompted my reply. "Come to think of it," she mused, "I heard him say the credit goes to his grandmother."
Grandparents, it's our lives they watch, not always our words they hear.
An Unbelieving Generation
Sometimes God's chain from "generation to generation" is broken. Grandparents may have unbelieving children who are the parents of unbelieving children. How can grandparents lead the children to Jesus if the barriers are erected by their parents? The answer is not easy, but it is simple: by the lives we live and the prayers we offer.
Let me tell you the story of Mary Ellen. She was raised in a home where humanism, not God, was honored. As she grew up, she was dearly loved, but never heard stories from the Bible or about Jesus Christ. Her grandmother lived hundreds
of miles away, and she saw her seldom, but each time Mary Ellen was with her, grandmother told her about the love of God.
When Mary Ellen was twenty-four years old she heard the Gospel for the first time and responded wholeheartedly to accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior. Did Grandmother lead her to Jesus? Not directly. However, many years later Mary Ellen found her baby book and for the first time realized the power of the Scripture that says, "...The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results" (James 5:16).
Grandma's letters, glued into that treasured baby book, were dated a few days after Mary Ellen's birth. This little Scottish grandmother wrote:
To my own cherub, My Wee Lamb Mary Ellen.
Grandma will say a prayer especially for you every day of her life. God is very good, my Wee Lambie, and if we remember Him, He never forsakes us; and I know that you are going to learn to love Him when you grow a little bit bigger.
God bless you,
Yes, He Answers Prayers
Testify that God answers prayers. We've had more experience in life's rocky places and can tell the stories to our grandchildren about the way we have heard God say to us, "Yes," "No," or "Wait a while."
When my children and grandchildren go through the "valley of shadow," I want them to know that the Lord is with them, strengthening them. Prayers are answered in His way.
When our darling little Debbie was killed in a church-bus accident, another chapter of heartache was written in our lives. Before the car arrived to take us to Forest Lawn for the service, I knelt at our family altar and asked God to give me strength that I might be a good Christian witness at the service. I knew this tragedy had been spread across the newspapers of the country, and with all my heart I wanted the world to know that He holds me up when I have no power myself.
One week after the funeral I received a letter that said,
When I heard about the bus accident it was bad enough. When I heard that the daughter of Dale and Roy Rogers was in it, I wondered if your strength would hold. You had been through so much. I saw you on television at the funeral, and I think your face told the story. It was terrible agony for you, but there was a peace on your face that is seldom seen these days.
Yes, grandchildren, God does answer prayers. And grandparents, we may be the books our grandchildren read when the world tells them to follow the siren song of secularism. We may be the light they need to guide them out of the darkness of unbelief and skepticism.
Recently I've been having a lot of trouble with my eyes. Driving at night has become a little more difficult, and my arms have become too short to read a book easily. When I meet my friends who are wearing those three-paned spectacles, I'm reminded of this poem:
Grandmother's glasses had two windows;
And I, a child at her aproned knee,
Would prod, "Grandmother, when you look
Through the bottoms, what do you see?"
And she would always smile and say
That she saw only me.
And "Grandmother, when you look
Through the tops, tell, what do you see?"
"The lane, the hill, the field of hay,
The collie dog, the maple tree..."
When grandmother looked above her specs,
Then I would never prod.
For Grandmother's eyes grew misty blue;
I knew that she saw God.
BEULAH FENDERSON SMITH
Chapter 12 || Table of Contents