Notice, Remember, and Tell

I am rarely stuck for words, but this great-grandmother’s reply left me gaping like a dying codfish.

I had just finished leading a writers’ workshop based on Psalm 78:3-4 for several dozen retired people who wanted to leave a legacy of written “Family God-stories”. One elderly lady briefly told a fascinating story of how God had answered the prayers of her family during the beginning of the Great Depression.

She was just a small child but prayed earnestly for her Daddy to get a job. And he did, as a construction worker on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. When, after four and a half years, the bridge was opened on May 27, 1937, she and the rest of the family rode in the first motorcade to cross the bridge. 

After the workshop I asked if she had already written that story. “No, I haven’t,” she replied, “this is the first time I have ever told this story to anyone.” Huh? Never?! The first time!? Codfish time for Jack.

I discovered she had not even told her late husband, or any of her kids, grandkids or great-grandkids. For 75 years, two generations of her family born after her had been driving across that huge orange bridge regularly, never realizing it symbolized God’s provision for their grandfather’s family during those dark, desperate depression years of the 1930s.

As I drove home that day I wondered how many thousands of other Christians are failing to tell God-stories such as these, and thus robbing Him of thousands of opportunities to receive glory and praise.

Throughout the Bible God commands people to remember—147 times in the Old Testament and 70 times in the New Testament. “. . . things we learned from our ancestors, and we will tell them to the next generation. We will not keep secret the glorious deeds of the Lord.” Psalm 78:3-4. When the Israelites stopped telling the God-stories, their descendants fell into sin, over and over again.

We live in chaotic times. It is hard to notice and then remember. We are overloaded with information and have no time to think. That is Satan’s work. Our work is to stop, think, pray, and note the answers to our prayers. Keeping a diary is a great tool to help us think, reflect and remember. The weakest ink lasts longer than the most powerful memory.

Then, we need to tell and retell the God-stories in our lives: the answers to prayer; the protection from harm; the amazing provision—all the things that God has obviously done for us. Our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids need to know these things.

If we don’t notice them, we will forget. If we don’t remember we can’t tell the next generation. Through our negligence we keep secret what God has done and rob Him of the glory and praise due to Him.
Who wants to do that?

PS: I will soon stop sending these articles to you via Email. If you want to keep getting them, you need to type in your Email address into the space under Follow by Email. Then follow the spam-prevention instruction. Or you could subscribe to this blog as an RSS feed.

8 thoughts on “Notice, Remember, and Tell

  1. I must admit Jack, our stories are very important. And I am having great fun and awesome times of worship as I get to share my God stories of God's awesome love.

    Raymond Lindsay

  2. Great story. Really shows how important our stories are and how important it is to share those stories. If I was that woman's grandchild, I'd want to know that my great-grandpa worked on the Brige! Yet maybe it's also important for those of us in my generation to ask our grandparents for these stories so they don't get lost.

  3. Hello Jack. I keep wanting to write to you and comment on some of your work. This one hit a little close to home. I so agree that we have lost so many wonderful stories just because people fail to share. I love this quote from your post: "We live in chaotic times. It is hard to notice and then remember. We are overloaded with information and have no time to think. That is Satan’s work. Our work is to stop, think, pray, and note the answers to our prayers. Keeping a diary is a great tool to help us think, reflect and remember. The weakest ink lasts longer than the most powerful memory." Such a powerful reminder what we do with our free will sometimes. God bless you as you continue to encourage here and share your heart.

  4. I've heard it said that the word 'testimony' in the original language means 'to do again'… which then makes the telling and retelling of our God-stories so necessary.

    Because as we tell our testimony, it builds faith which gives Him the opportunity to do amazing things in our lives again and in the lives of those who hear it.

    I really connected to your comment that 'Through our negligence we keep secret what God has done and rob Him of the glory and praise due to Him.'

    I agree. We don't want to do that.

    Thanks for a great posting.

    BTW, I like your comment in your profile about you feeling God's pleasure when you use words.

  5. I grew up in California so this story really struck a chord. We have a blank book that we are writing stories in about our grandkids when they do and say funny things and make childish yet deep insightful statements. This is a good reminder to also write our stories. I regret not having stories from my grandparents so will try to make sure our grandkids hear the wonderful ways God has provided and led us through our lives. Thanks!

  6. A thought-provoking article, Jack. I enjoyed it.

    "We live in chaotic times. It is hard to notice and then remember." How true this is. There are so many distractions in our society and way of life today that often we do not notice when the Lord has done something special in our lives. If we don't notice, we cannot give thanks and share.

    Like runningman, I regret not knowing much about my grandparents. They had all died by the time I was 16, one grandfather just before I turned 7. I don't really even know a lot about my parents' lives before I arrived. As for me, I have never been married or had children, so there is no one to pass anything on to. But I can share with those around me.

  7. Thanks for the encouraging comments on this first post.
    I often stimulate people by saying, "What have you experienced that, if your grandparents had experienced something similar, you would love to have heard their story?"

  8. Pingback: Over Half-Way to My First Million–The Charles Dickens WayJack's INsights & OUTbursts | Jack's INsights & OUTbursts

Comments are closed.