Meet my Uncle Bennett. Actually, he was my great-uncle. When I was a little girl, his towering 6’4” stature scared the bejesus out of me. Uncle Bennett pitched for some of the greatest Major League Baseball teams throughout the 1950s. He retired with a pretty impressive record. But, like most of that greatest generation, he never mentioned his successes or drew attention to himself.
I’m such a girl when it comes to sports, but I do know Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball venue in history. Fans and non-fans alike revere this place. My Uncle Bennett actually pitched on that famous mound back in the day as his teams’ adoring fans went wild. Without a doubt, this small-town, big-league knuckleballer quietly savored those larger-than-life moments for the rest of his days.
But consider this. The people who mattered most to Uncle Bennett never saw him play Major League Baseball. His family surely fought for front row seats throughout his high school and college shutouts. But as he soared in the big leagues, those moments shifted out of reach. His parents, my great-grandparents, were simple folk of humble resources. The very idea of buying plane tickets to see their son play? Unthinkable!
Pa and Ma Flowers never even watched their favorite player on television. Television was still a luxury, even a fantasy, for average families in the 1950s. Uncle Bennett’s loved ones likely huddled around a radio instead. They would have strained to hear through the static, to envision the commentators’ depictions of each play. My family longed for a thing so completely beyond their grasp.
Fast-forward to 2018. I recently enjoyed an excursion to Boston with my boyfriend of thirty-five years. 😉 “Google” suggested we visit Fenway Park while in the area. So, off we went.
As I hopped off the subway and emerged above ground, an imposing scene stirred an unexpected sea of tears. There I stood . . . in that very place so far beyond my family’s reach. What had been utterly impossible for them came with incredible ease to me. In that moment, I caught a penetrating awareness of generational blessing. I stood on the shoulders of those who came before me.
This should not catch us by surprise. Our amazing God fully intends for us to stand on our predecessors’ shoulders. He dreamed hugely for our generations AND dreams hugely for us. He expects their ceiling to become our launching pad.
Our Good Father is building something in us and through us that is unimaginably grander than who we are in this moment. He longs to accomplish something through our generations that reach beyond our loftiest imaginations.
Perhaps as you consider family who paved the way before you, you feel three steps behind everyone else. Maybe your parents got some things so very wrong. They likely replicated the jagged pieces handed to them.
You may feel as if you come to the table with every disadvantage. You find no strong shoulders to stand upon. Stop! Hear me! God can begin right here, right now, with you—YES, YOU!
Regardless of what has been done to us, despite what has been withheld from us, may we stand with arms wide-open and declare, “Lord, let it begin with me! Let my generations stand on my shoulders of Faith and do great things! May my difficulties become increasingly simplified for those who come behind me.”
When we let the Lover of our souls begin this work in us, we tap into the deepest dreams of His heart. May our children and grandchildren stand on our shoulders and do the impossible! It’s possible, you know, starting NOW, starting with YOU!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv.