One of my favorite things to do when reading a passage of Scripture is to ask myself what the passage reveals to me about God. While each passage, of course, lends itself to a unique listing of attributes, some characteristics seem to turn up quite frequently. One of those is love.
Yes, God’s love is amazing. We say the words, sing the songs, and quote the Scriptures. But honestly, how many of us ever take the time to stop and think about his amazing love?
While there are many passages in the Bible that reveal God’s love to us, a couple of my favorites are found in the book of Psalms.
Psalm 136 opens with the words, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Did you know, the chapter then goes on to repeat the phrase, “for his steadfast love endures forever,” in the latter half of each subsequent verse? That’s a total of 26 times that we read the same words about his love! What does this reveal to you about God’s love?
In Psalm 118:1, we read a similar phrase, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” In this verse, the Hebrew word translated as “love” is the word khesed. This is a fascinating word replete with meaning. As such, it is impossible to find a single English word that conveys all its nuances. Yet, we can learn much about this khesed love by examining other Scriptures for its use. For instance, in Genesis 32, we get a glimpse of God’s khesed faithfully poured out on Jacob, and in Exodus 15, we marvel as this same khesed as God rescues the entire nation of Israel.
A further search will reveal that God’s khesed is faithful, generous, compassionate, enduring, gracious, kind, good, selfless, steadfast, loyal, and more. Surely it is so much more than simply the affection we feel for another. And this love is meant for us – and for our grandchildren. The question is: Are we sharing it with them?
Why It Matters
I have read several research reports in recent years that state that in the span of three generations, a generation can be lost.
Consider with me:
Generation number one knows of God. In fact, they know him personally and love him deeply. This generation takes great care in passing knowledge of God and his commands to the next generation, but in the busyness of earning a living, keeping up with family schedules, and ministering in their church, they fail to pass the love of God to the next generation.
Generation number two receives the knowledge and commands of God passed to them by their parents. However, in not receiving the love of God, the knowledge and commands become rules and constraints. Finding no value in what they perceive as mere religion, this generation does not even pass the knowledge of God to the next generation.
As a result, generation number three is lost. They receive nothing of God, and it becomes very difficult to gain them back.
In case you are tempted to dismiss this research as inconsequential, look with me for a moment within the pages of the Bible.
In the first book of the Bible, we find one example of generations falling away. A mere ten generations after Adam’s, we read in chapter six that God “saw the wickedness of man… regretted that he had made man… was grieved… and decided to blot out man” (vs. 5-7). In a time when many generations of a family were alive at the same time and shared life together, only eight people were taken into the ark. What happened? Somewhere, somehow the family line failed, and many were lost.
Or consider the account found in Judges 2:7-10 where we find another example. In verse ten we read, “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.” Do you realize that this verse is talking about the generation that followed Joshua? A generation that had personally witnessed the miracles of God, yet they were lost!
It is no different today. Our grandchildren are growing up in a culture steeped in godlessness and rebellion. Many know little about God or his commands. Even fewer know his love.
Remember our three generations? It’s up to us to share his love. How will you go about it?
Ways to Share God’s Love
- BE PRESENT
Share God’s love with your grandchildren by sharing yourself. Did you know that Hagar is the only person recorded in the Bible to have given God a name? She named him “The God Who Sees” because he arrived in her time of need and was there for her.
It speaks volumes to our grandchildren when we take the time to be present with them. Put away your phone and turn off your screens. Turn your attention to your grandchildren and give it to them freely and undivided. Let your grandchildren choose an activity for you to do together or simply spend your time sitting and talking.
- OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT AND AFFIRMATION
Encouragement is given through actions or words that offer support, confidence, and hope. Attend competitions and special events when you are able. Be a FaceTime practice audience. Offer financial assistance if it is within your means. However it looks for you, be your grandchild’s biggest cheerleader!
While encouragement helps to paint a bright future for your grandchildren, affirmation validates them. Affirmation looks backward, confirming something that has already taken place and been observed. When you notice a Christlike characteristic being exhibited by your grandchildren, tell them. (They probably don’t hear it often enough!)
Your encouragement and affirmation will go a long way in pointing your grandchildren to God’s love.
In God’s remarkable khesed, he listens to us. He’s never too busy, distracted, or disinterested. Share God’s love with your grandchildren by taking the time to listen to them without preaching, judging, or trying to fix the problem.
- EXTEND COMPASSION
When we develop a track record of listening to our grandchildren without preaching, judging, or trying to fix the problem, they feel more freedom to come to us and share their struggles. As they do, we can share God’s love with them by extending compassion.
- PRAY FOR (AND WITH) YOUR GRANDCHILDREN
Prayer is a gift from our Heavenly Father. Given with great love and thoughtfulness, prayer displays God’s faithfulness, sovereignty, and goodness. And it draws us closer to him. This precious gift also allows us to release to God what we cannot control ourselves. On one hand, prayer is a gift to grandparents.
Prayer is also a gift for our grandchildren. As we intercede on their behalf, they can know that their concerns have been heard by the Lord. As well, this gift of prayer is the channel through which God is moved to shape their lives.
Our prayers are a powerful way to share God’s love with our grandchildren. Let them know you have prayed for them, let them hear you pray for them, or better yet, pray with them.
- TALK ABOUT YOUR STRUGGLES
Sharing our struggles with anyone, let alone our grandchildren, is a hard thing to do. We want our grandchildren to look up to us, to think we have it all together. If we share our struggles, what will they think?
But don’t we tell our grandchildren that no one is perfect, and that God is forgiving and gracious? Don’t we also know that our grandchildren will have struggles of their own? Learn to share your struggles, and you will help teach your grandchildren how to work through their own. What better way could there be to share his faithful khesed with them?
It’s our responsibility. It’s our privilege. It’s time to be intentional in sharing God’s love with our grandchildren.