Psalm 78:4-We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
It’s World War II and the Japanese have infiltrated northeast India. A Pastor in the region, knowing the emanate danger, hides his family. However, in the process, he is found by the Japanese and murder in cold blood.Now his wife and three children are left without protection and any way of survival. To escape the coming war, this widow decides to take her three small children to her family’s village, which is a three-day journey through the jungles of northeast India. This was a dangerous trip with three children ranging from eight to three months old. This journey would include rough terrain, dangerous animal interactions, and near death at the hands of a river crossing.
This is how my grandmother (Atsa) begins as she tells us about her Pastor father, widowed mother, and her life story. As we sit around the table, four generations listen to her heart-wrenching story as it was translated to us (she doesn’t speak English). Having been only a small child at the time, Asta recalls these difficult and painful early years of her life. She would continue her story by describing the hardships of the coming years. The story included extreme poverty as her mother was not educated, the sacrifice of her mother to send Atsa to school, their basic necessities of life being given by the generous, Asta’s eventual forced arranged marriage that include her raising her husband’s previous wife’s children, his brutal and abusive alcoholic rage, the daily fear of her or her children being beaten to death, and many other hardships too numerous to name.
While for many this type of story results in tragedy, bitterness, and cycles of the same depravity, this was not the case for my Asta. In fact, while telling her story, there was never a hardship she described that didn’t end with, “but God was faithful”. Over and over again she would see God glorified in these darkest of places. God always provided for her, God protected her, God healed her abusive husband when he was at the point of death, God saved him, God used him, God orchestrated their involvement in church planting, Bible college building, and the salvation of many family members, including my mom.
As I listened to my Asta and with tears in my eyes, I couldn’t help but look at my wife and my two daughters, and thank God for his faithfulness. As my Atsa wanted to “tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done”, I couldn’t help but be overjoyed at this opportunity to hear God’s redemptive history playing out in my own family. I feel overwhelming grateful for the missionaries that first came to northeast India, my great-grandfather who died protecting his family, my great-grandmother’s courage in providing for her family, my Asta’s trust in God’s faithfulness, and the lasting effective it had all the way to my children.
This was a moment that might not come again and it’s a moment that I will cherish. I will make sure that this legacy remains. This legacy passed on to me, may God continue in generations to come so that we may also, “tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done”.
May we never forget or take for granted what God has done. Furthermore, may we never forget that God is the writer of our stories. He is capable of being glorified in every circumstance. He faithful and He will redeem and restore that which is broken, ultimately, for the glory of His name.