There’s no denying that our family background strongly influences who we become as adults. While we may not be destined to be exactly like our parents and extended family, in most cases we end up resembling them more than we initially imagined. Depending on our particular family, that can be good or not so good. Learned patterns of behavior and thinking have a profound impact on our life.
The good news is that the past does not have to determine the future. Significant experiences have the potential to alter who we are. For me and my family, that significant experience was coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
I was a teenager when I committed my life to Jesus. So was my sister. Our family hasn’t been the same since.
While we grew up in a loving family, it was not a Christian family. We didn’t know Jesus. We didn’t attend church. We didn’t read the Bible. We didn’t know much about God.
Today most members of our family are followers of Jesus. That is a radical transformation. The future is very different than it would have been if we had not come to faith in Christ.
I was reminded of that when our son and daughter-in-law named our newest grandchild. The name is not profound – Emily Elisabeth Hogg. However the reason for the name is profound. Emily is simply a name they liked, especially the way it goes with Elisabeth. The profound part is her middle name. They spelled Elisabeth with an “s” instead of a “z” because that is how Elisabeth Elliot’s named is spelled.
Elisabeth Elliot died almost two years ago. In 1956 her husband was killed while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca (now known as Huaorani; also rendered as Waorani or Waodani) of eastern Ecuador. She later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband. Back in America she was popular author and speaker.
It may seem a small thing to some reading this blog that our son and his wife were influenced by this woman when naming our granddaughter. To me it is a big thing, because it speaks to how our family has changed over recent decades.
The generations born after me and my sister are receiving a different heritage than we received. For that, I’m thankful to our Lord.
I’m also thankful for each person who brought the gospel of Jesus to us when we were lost. We never know how many lives, both today and in the future, are being impacted when we tell someone about Jesus or invite them to attend Sunday School and worship with us.
Pastor Steve Hogg