Almost 23 years ago I uncovered a great gift. I was helping my mother sort through her childhood home. We were emptying out, tossing trash and cherishing treasure.
My mother’s mother died before I was born. My mother gave me part of her name and mom always said I was like her. So while going through a stack of books, my eye caught a glimpse of a blue bounded book hidden among dingy browns and dark hues. I opened the cover to discover the inscription, “Mrs. V.A. Desh from John Desh— Christmas, 1937”
Here was something tangible my grandmother had held in her hands. Words she had taken in and now was my opportunity to share in something she had found valuable in her life.
“Mom, can I have this?”
In her rush of sorting and filing, she glanced over.
I went on…”It was Grandma’s…I’d like to read it!”
This book is now a favored treasure of mine. I’m working my way through it again…for the fourth time.”
It’s a simple book by Edith F. Norton entitled Is He Not Able? (If you’re interested, it is available on Amazon here.) It was written in 1934 and she affectionately dedicated it in memory of her husband, Ralph C. Norton, who from Brussels, Belgium, on October 1, 1934, departed to be with Christ.”
Learning from history is one of my passions. At times, I imagine myself in another time. Putting myself in the shoes of another; living their days and pondering how I would handle what they endured? Even within Ms. Norton’s dedication, I struggled with the thought…”She lost her husband the same year she finished this book…how would that have been?”
Tied to history is faithfulness. We see it down through the generations. There is not an era or moment His unchanging grace, love and faithfulness can not be found.
In her first chapter, Ms. Norton, pens these words:
Life, as never before, is difficult and complex. We need daily to call upon God to meet those needs, oral and physical, which perhaps in a simpler, saner generation did not exist. And because our needs are so complicated and manifold, and our faith all too weak, we have begun to drift away from implicit faith in His promises and the reality of His presence. Is that not indeed the case with most of us? And yet He is so near us in our weakness and need, so blessedly alive to our concerns, so aware of our perils, so strong to be our deliverer and Saviour from all our distresses—from all our fears.”
We chuckle at her idea of the 1930’s life as “difficult and complex.” We amuse ourselves, thinking, “Her generation was the saner and simpler…much more than now, looking at what we juggle.”
We are sometimes swallowed up in our times….thinking our generation, our days are more difficult than the ones before. Yet, history shows each one has their own journey…difficult and arduous. The trials of life might take different forms with different price tags attached but at the root of it all, people haven’t changed nor has God.
“From one man, He made all the people of the world… He decided exactly when…and where they should live.” (Acts 17:26 NIRV)
I wasn’t placed in Ms. Norton’s days nor was she placed in mine, yet I can learn from her stories. She was a writer, a recorder of history, telling of His faithfulness in her days.
In our lives, we have our own stories. We have chapters of adventures, points of peril, and epilogues of faithfulness. We might lose sight of it in the everyday or overlook His overarching love story woven throughout our moments. But He is here…faithfully working it out!
Taking in words written before my time…words read by my own grandmother reminds me I am not the only one traveling difficult roads.
- I am not the only one struggling with uncertainty, fear or worry.
- I’m not the first to have a financial need way beyond my means and see God meet it.
- I’m not alone in needing a miracle, waiting for God’s answer and provision.
When we see His faithfulness working through the lives of others, it builds our faith. They made it through their journey which gives hope that we will as well. They cheer us on from the grandstands. “Keep going… keep fighting… keep growing…keep loving! Because in the end, our loss is not so great compared to His reward. It’s worth it all…He is worth it all!”
So today, be encouraged! You are going to make it! In every generation, He is faithful…And He is faithful to you!
Do you have a story of faithfulness to share? We would love to hear it! You can share in the comments below.