My grandmother lived for a time in a soddy on the Kansas frontier. She was one of eleven children, only four of whom grew to adulthood. I heard her tell the story of her life as a girl in response to my curious question of why there were so few cousins on that side of the family. That story sparked more curiosity, leading me to spend time researching more of my own family history through the years. It also led to an awareness of many of the cultural changes we have experienced through the years. Some good, and some maybe not so good.
It’s definitely good to have many more advantages than my grandmother had – including medical knowledge that now prevents the Scarlet Fever that took her twin brother, along with so many of her siblings. But, along with all the advantages we now have, I sense an underlying belief that life should be less filled with difficulty, more “fair.” Because we now know more about how to prevent disease, we shouldn’t have to experience it – or at the least, there should be some new cure on the horizon. It seems to me somehow we have come to expect less suffering as one of our God-given rights. We tend to clutch tightly all we expect as part of our perceived rights.
When my grandmother related her story to me, she did so in the context of a scripture she quoted to me, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21). Even though the passage speaks of “things,” she challenged me to hold everything, including my relationships, with a grateful open hand back to God. After all, none of them are really “mine,” but are on loan from God for me to steward well.
I’m still learning to keep my hands open, and in the process, continuing to discover more peace as God and his kingdom become my greatest desire. – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist