Bible Study Tools / Marriage And Family

A Grandchild to Bring You Joy

by Anthony Wasilkoff
Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash

It has been noted that the only time Sigmund Freud ever cried was when his grandson died. The death of little Heinerle Rudolph resulted in Freud’s firstever depression. Three years after the fact, Freud told a confidant that it had been impossible for him to enjoy his life since the loss of the lad.

When Joseph finally revealed his identity to his estranged brothers, he directed them to hurry back home and bring their father to start a new life in Egypt. Joseph added the following details: “You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have” (Genesis 45:10). One of the joys of parenting is to see one’s children safely grown and marrying and starting to raise families of their own. Scripture describes offspring as being “a heritage of the Lord” and “a reward” and so they are.

Similarly, grandchildren are a heritage and reward not only to the two parents but perhaps even more so for the four grandparents and possibly even great grandparents. It is with good reason that an adage says grandparents are parents who are given a second chance!

Psalm 103:17-18 states, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.” God’s limitless love and concern transcends the fleeting life spans of human beings. Most parents want their children to have a better life than they did. This carries over to their children’s children as well. According to the NIV Study Bible, “The close identity of a man with his children and of children with their parents, resulting from the tightly bonded unity of the three or four generation households of that ancient society, is alien to the modern reader, whose sense of self is highly individualistic. But that deep, profoundly human bond accounts for the ancient legal principle of ‘punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’”

Psalm 128:5-6 proclaims, “The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!” One of the finest blessings a person can experience is to live to see grandchildren born and to help them with the chore of growing up. I recall when my own dad would come to visit with my wife and me some years ago now. One of the joys of his visit was to spend some quality time with his only granddaughter. He would take a chair into her bedroom and wait patiently for her to wake up from her nap! I still have pleasant memories of something as simple as him taking her for a walk. I would watch this and marvel wondering why he hadn’t been that patient with me when I was growing up.

On another occasion he witnessed me disciplining my son for some misdemeanor. Then he took me aside and admonished me for having been too tough on him. I wondered why he didn’t follow his own advice when I was little. As I remember he had often been pretty tough on me when I was a child.

Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.” We see this happening in virtually every congregation of the Church of God where little boys and girls are whisked away from their parents right after services conclude by adoptive aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers. This gives the beleaguered parents a welcome break and allows the adoptive relative an opportunity to practice and share important nurturing skills.

Proverbs 13:22 instructs, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” Sinners sometimes manage to acquire an amazing amount of wealth. However, it will not do them much good in the long run nor for their heirs. On the other hand, a decent man is able to parlay his acquisitions with a mind to giving his grandchildren a good start in life if at all possible. A little can go a long way when properly planned for.

One of the most heartwarming passages for me with respect to this topic is found in Genesis 50:23 where Joseph’s golden years are described: “Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knee” (NRSV). This may be a strange expression for us. It simply means that the children mentioned were just like his very own children.

One of the first surprises that a grandparent experiences is how quickly he or she becomes bonded with a grandchild. You might expect that it would take a series of many encounters over a long period of time. However, the truth of the matter is that the connection develops almost instantly. This is why Sigmund Freud suffered his first depression as he did.

In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul writes, “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and I am persuaded is in you also.” This passage has intrigued me. How fortunate Timothy had been to have a mother and grandmother both of whom were believers. What a head start, what an advantage it gave him in living his life. Conversion is described as “genuine faith” in this passage by the RAV. It is something that actually “dwelt” in human beings as if it were something quite alive and growing. Certainly not lifeless and inert. My father-in-law and mother-in-law were baptized back in 1954 by a couple of young ministers on a baptizing tour conducted by the Radio Church of God out of Pasadena, California. My wife was baptized in 1967 and so this makes her a second-generation believer. Our son and daughter-in-law and daughter are all baptized and so this makes them third-generation believers. Now I wonder, with bated breath, if our grandson will similarly be summoned to the faith in God’s good way and in God’s good time and become a fourth generation believer.

Paul Harvey, in one of his inimitable presentations, wrote: “We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better. I’d really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. I hope you learn humility by being humiliated and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.…”

Paul Harvey had much more to say about how he wanted to be sure his grandchildren would grow up without being spoiled and doted upon unduly. We can be confident our Heavenly Father may be enlisted to be sure those results come about for all the grandchildren in the collective Church of God.

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