Several years ago my father-in-law passed away suddenly in an automobile accident.
Death has a way of turning your world upside down whether you see it coming or not.
Although they are now together in Heaven, at the time my father-in-law left behind a wife of 49 years. My husband’s mom was no stranger to trials. Like all of us, she had her stories of both successes and sorrows.
In the months that followed that tragic accident, I was reminded over and over again that suffering not only refines who you are, but it also reveals who you are. On numerous occasions, I remember my mother-in-law speaking of God’s faithfulness, grace, and provision. Though my mother-in-law was many years removed from raising her own children, she continued leaving them a legacy with the way she handled the circumstances God placed before her.
It’s not just what a mom does that is important; it’s also what she believes.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Hebrews 11. It is a chapter that records the lives of many who came before us. Hebrews 11 begins in this way:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”
It is not an accident that the writer of Hebrews first records the “ancients” faith before their faithfulness.
In other words, legacy begins not with living, but with believing.
This becomes the refrain of Hebrews 11. “By faith…by faith…by faith…by faith…by faith” It is not hard to see how different the legacies would read in Hebrews 11 if we reverse their faith. For example we might read, “By his lack of faith, Noah did not build an ark. By his lack of faith, Abraham did not go. By their lack of faith, Moses’ parents did not hide him.” It would be a rather unimpressive chapter on legacy! What we see is that a legacy of faithfulness begins with a legacy of faith (or belief).
I have been challenged recently to reconsider not just what I am doing, but the legacy of what I am believing. I have four sets of eyes watching and remembering the faith that I act out in my life every single day. When my husband had first heard that his father had died, he rushed to be with his mom. When he walked in to the room to face her for the first time after this tragedy, he was struck by the words she spoke. She spoke of God’s character and His promises.
It was her faith in who God was that allowed her to walk through what God had for her.
A life of faith leads to a legacy of faithfulness. In this moment of anguish her story read, “By faith Betty believed God and found Him to be true in grace and goodness.” Her faith in God’s character led to faithfulness in her circumstances. Little did she know, others were watching and listening.
Friends we are writing a story with our lives. Will our legacy read, “By faith…..”?
What kind of legacy are you leaving your children by what you believe?