How can I begin to describe the wonder of grandchildren? It’s not only that they’re so incredibly cute (though they absolutely are), but something happens to us when our children bear children. We become suddenly…wise.
We see in our grandkids’ little bodies traits and talents that will one day grow into similarities of their parents—as if we see a full spectrum instead of single pieces of a puzzle.
I look back at my own life and recognize the same spectrum-vision. Things that seemed disjointed and confusing in my past make sense in the full story of a lifetime. Those silly little stage plays I wrote in second grade (yes, I was a playwright in that pic above) make sense as I find the same joy in writing novels today. And my need to express emotions through written notes to school friends seems logical now that journaling and writing are such a huge part of my life.
God Wastes Nothing
My life before Christ was filled with addictions, promiscuity, and rebellion that set me on a very dark path; however, those parts of my character have been redeemed by the relentless grace of Jesus Christ. Now, I’m actually thankful for those “bad” parts of my past because the experiences enable me to minister to others in ways I couldn’t if I hadn’t experienced those “B.C. days.”
God even finds ways to use leftover B.C. traits for His glory. For instance, the “addictive personality” that led me into alcoholism now prods me to write for hours—and hours—without a break. When I study or research, I’m not content with only one resource. I consult dozens. That rebellious streak that gave my parents gray hair is now harnessed to challenge the status quo and incite much-needed change.
God can take even the worst traits from our B.C. days and turn them into talents for His praise and glory.
A Biblical Example:
Traits of the Levites
The same principle is vividly displayed in one of Jacob’s sons, Levi. Perhaps you’ll remember the first time this rebel son is singled out in Scripture. He worked in tandem with his brother Simeon to commit a heinous act to avenge his sister’s honor after she’d been raped.
“Every male in the city was circumcised. Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male.” Genesis 34:24-25
Jacob was furious with his two sons and never let them forget the abominable act of destroying an entire city—even if they did it to avenge their sister’s honor. When Jacob lay dying in Egypt, he included a curse as a part of these two sons’ blessing.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers—their swords are weapons of violence…Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” Genesis 49:5-7
Talents of the Levites
Four centuries later, Jacob’s descendants had grown into a nation—Israel—and Pharaoh ordered all Hebrew male children killed. Most Israelite women were compliant, but historically Levites were a fierce tribe. Angry. Willing to fight for what they believed—no matter the cost or consequence.
“Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.” Exodus 2:1-3
Moses’ mother Jochebed used her fierce Levite trait to save her son, who eventually became Israel’s deliverer and Yahweh’s mouthpiece to the nation. Moses spoke face-to-face with God on Mt. Sinai and returned from his mountaintop experience to find the faithless Israelites dancing before a Golden Calf. How did Moses and the other zealous Levites react?
“Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control…So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.’ And all the Levites rallied to him. Then he said to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.”’ The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, ‘You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.’”
Exodus 32:25-29 (emphasis added)
Levi’s Temper Redeemed
The patriarch of the Levites—Levi, Jacob’s third-born son—used his sword in Shechem for savagery and vengeance, and it marred his legacy. Generations later, that same ferocious determination saved a baby who became Israel’s deliverer. At the base of Mt. Sinai, Levi’s descendants used their zeal and swords to vindicate Yahweh, winning God’s favor for generations. A trait turned to a talent for redeeming the past.
I don’t suppose you need “Grandma vision” to recognize the full spectrum of traits and talents the Lord can use in someone’s life—or perhaps in your own life. Some of our most annoying habits can even be used for His glory if we allow Him to make a few tweaks.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” Colossians 3:17,23
- What parts of your character have been redeemed by Jesus Christ’s relentless grace?
- God can turn the worst traits from our B.C. days into talents for His praise and glory.
- No need for “Grandma vision” to recognize traits and talents the Lord can use in someone’s life.
- Is there some trait or talent that seemed to cause you trouble in your B.C. days that has been (or is being) redeemed by your new life in Him?