Stones for Future Generations


I'm now a grandfather of three.

Yep. My daughter-in-love had a baby girl three weeks ago.

As I’ve said before, becoming a grandfather was quite an experience. All of a sudden, I turned into an annoying person. I lost my mind.

Now, all I can think about is these three amazing kids. I walk through the foyers and atrium of the church with photos on my phone, ready to show anyone who will stand still long enough. I’m so annoying.

I’m sure people wish their pastor would ask them how they’re doing, or offer to pray for them, or listen to their story of God showing up–you get the picture.

But no! Since Heidi was born, all I care about is telling everybody I have a granddaughter, and she has no idea how much her brothers love her, how much her grandparents love her, how much her Uncle Cole and Aunt Kristin love her, how much her great grandmother loves her, and, most importantly, how much her mom and dad love her.

I was in Indiana recently and while driving back to the airport, one of my favorite songs came on the radio. The song is called “Cinderella.” It was written and recorded by Steven Curtis Chapman, who spent some time at Anderson University with my brother and a few others.

The song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it in 2007 as the father of an 18-year-old daughter at the time. We celebrated Kristin’s 30th birthday back in February.

See if these words don’t put a lump in your throat:

She spins and she sways

To whatever song plays

Without a care in the world

And I’m sitting here wearing

The weight of the world on my shoulders

It’s been a long day

And there’s still work to do

She’s pulling at me saying…

“Dad, I need you

There’s a ball at the castle

And I’ve been invited

And I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please”

So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone…

This song puts tears in my eyes just typing the words right now.

As I drove to the Indianapolis airport last week, I texted my oldest son–Heidi’s father–and told him to play “Cinderella” in his car as he drove to lunch.

I dared him to get through it without some tears. He took the dare–and lost.

Heidi has been born into a loving family. Her mother, my daughter-in-love, is a fantastic mom. She and my son are making us so proud as they choose to do life in a way that brings health to their marriage, and they certainly put these children at top of their list of priorities.

As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of our church, I’m reminded of a story in Joshua 4. The people had crossed the Jordan and the Lord told Joshua to choose 12 men to take 12 stones from the place where the priests were standing in the middle of the Jordan. He told them to carry the stones out and pile them up at a place where they would camp that night.

Joshua told the men: “We would use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them…these stones remind us that the Jordan river stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s covenant went across.”

In other words, these stones will remind future generations that a significant encounter with God took place in that spot. It will remind future generations that God showed up and showed off. Verse 24 says, “He did this so all nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”

Sometimes I wonder about the world my grandkids are growing up in. I wonder if Kim and I are setting up markers that will forever remind the generations who come after us that God is still God, that he still loves, guides, understands, forgives, and calls us to do the same.

The older I get, the simpler the Gospel becomes. Even though I cannot fathom what the world will look like in the year 2040 or 2050, one thing is certain: I won’t be here. I’m okay with that. It’s called life and the Bible talks about it cover to cover.

In spite of all I don’t know, one thing I do know is I can make an investment in my kids and grandkids that will provide stones, markers, reminders that God is still God, and he still loves and guides and protects and empowers and forgives. I can somehow help my family understand that there is far more life on the other side than on this side.

All I know for sure is what I can do now. I can patiently love, be available, serve, live by example, and demonstrate the unconditional love of Christ who has come to give us abundant and eternal life.