ARE FAMILY LINES LIKE RELAY RACES?
Dr. James J. S. Johnson
This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord. (Psalm 102:18)
A relay race requires a team united in their efforts to reach a destination within a certain timeframe. Each relay runner runs part of the race’s total distance. Besides running, relay races may involve cross-country skiing, swimming, ice skating, or even race-car driving. A relay race is a team sport – if the team doesn’t work well together, the unsurprising result is a failure to win.
Planning and preparation—including division of labor decisions and logistical support– are important for successfully competing in a relay race. Who will lead off? Who will run the next “leg”? Who runs the “last leg” of the race? Transferring the baton can “make or break” a success. Dropping the baton can ruin everything.
Biogenetically speaking, our family lines are like relay races, except the “race” is much slower. Thankfully, our parents transferred the baton of life to us; we do the same to our children. They must do the same for our grandchildren, and so on. But what if our parents had “dropped” the baton, procreatively, when we needed them most—so they we would be conceived and born?
No one can “start” any “leg” of the multi-generational race unless and until God Himself procreatively makes that person. That requires literally thousands of years of God’s providential work—the details of which we never learn in this lifetime. Yet God kindly chose to make each of us the exact individual each one of us is. There is just one you. That is how personal God is, as our Creator. Beyond that His Son has provided redemption for our sin. That’s enough to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!
What a start in life we each have, physically: planned by God, procreatively constructed—microscopically—in the womb, by God’s own artistic embroidery-like needlework (Psalm 139:15). And that’s just our physical life!
Now imagine how God gives each of us a unique personality—a thinking mind, our emotions, our ability to make choices—all of those singularly human traits that pertain to being created in God’s image. And even before our physical bodies were formed, by the miraculous union of sperm and egg, the spiritual redemption that we each so desperately need (as Adam’s descendants) is already provided for, by Christ’s finished death and resurrection—as a gift which we receive simply by believing His good news about it. What an amazing start!
But, as members of a specific family, we are members of a team that must all run. So having a wonderful start is no place to quit. It is our duty to run with endurance, our assigned “leg” of the race, as we blend our part of the race with that of our family “teammates”. That includes focusing on Christ Himself—Who is our ultimate goal (Hebrews 12:1-2), pacing our race with endurance (that He provides), refusing to be distracted (by the world), and doing our best to help the next runner(s) to get off to a good start.
How well have you appreciated those who “ran” before you, and who (biogenetically) passed a baton that became a necessary part of who—in God’s providence—you are today? What work did God do to make sure that your father was born the boy he was? What details of human history made it possible for your mother to be procreatively created as the girl she was? What about your mother’s parents—what work did God do, in history, to make them who they were? Why and how did they meet? What about your paternal grandparents, have you thanked God for their lives? What family history can you pass on to the next generation, and the next, so they can know what to thank God for?
Does all of this stretch your mind? — it should, but the next question is how can you honor God with your own family history? Can you think of something specific you can do, this week, about this?
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