As a little girl, I remember my family rarely spoke about my grandmother’s family of origin. Finally, after many curious questions, my mother explained that Ivy Chapman Wiles was forbidden to marry Mark Anthony Lindsey (my grandfather). When they tied the knot, Ivy’s family disowned her. World War II broke out shortly after the wedding, and the estrangement became set in stone.
Tragically, Mark Anthony Lindsey proved to be exactly what Ivy’s father feared. He left Ivy a few years later in the middle of the war. Ivy was a single mother of two small children, living in London as bombs dropped all around them. I believe there is a harshness that settles into the hearts of war survivors. By the time I met my grandmother, she had firmly closed this sad chapter of her life. Our entire family felt honor-bound to respect her wishes to never even try to find our long-lost relatives.
Sometime around 2000, a young lady was assigned a family history project which she took quite seriously. She began looking for her grandfather’s long-lost older sister. With some internet sleuthing, she found my grandmother. In 2002, during a visit with my family to England, I met my Uncle Charlie for the first time. He and Ivy remained closely connected with regular phone calls and visits until his death. It was a dream come true for my entire family to gain family after all those years of sad separation. Watching my grandmother spend time with her beloved brother was a sweet gift at the end of a difficult life.
It must have been something like this for Zion’s exiles and those they left behind when they returned to Israel.
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true when God returned Zion’s exiles.We laughed, we sang, we couldn’t believe our good fortune.We were the talk of the nations—“God was wonderful to them!”God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.
Psalm 126:1-3 The Message
God returned his people to their homeland after decades in Babylon. Amazing reunions between those who left and those who stayed would have filled the air with laughter and tears. Instead, these exiles were taken away in a time of war and despair. Those who were left behind must have been shocked to see them again. Had they all lost hope of this ever happening?
Can I hold onto hope in a season of despair?
God delights in reconciliation, and such joyous reunions are worthy of celebration. But do I take time to celebrate God’s goodness? Do I really recognize and take time to mark those moments when He brings about reunions, miraculous provision, and joyful surprises? Instead, I tend to look ahead and get into the habit of focusing on the next thing or the new plan. If I am forever focused on what is coming up, I might miss the blessing right in front of me.
Can I take time today to recognize what God is doing for me right now?
Another truth I see in these verses is how God can be wonderful to them, and God can be wonderful to me. He has an unlimited flow of goodness. I can refuse to believe in scarcity and know God has plenty of goodness to go around. He gives to them and to me and still has more leftover. When I truly rejoice with others about their greatest blessings, a more resilient community is strengthened. God encourages me with stories of His faithfulness to those I care about, and God uses me to encourages others with my own stories of His provision. Perhaps if we were more willing to share our God stories with everyone, God’s blessings would become the talk of our community? If my eyes were seeking evidence of God’s goodness, would I see more of it? Can I choose to share a story about God’s provision and then ask others about how God has provided for them in good and beautiful ways?
God, thank you that you are in the business of unexpected reconciliations and restorations that provide wonderfulness for me and mine. Help me to take time to celebrate your amazing provision you make for me as often as you provide. Help me to keep an eye out for your goodness and be faithful to share it with others. Amen