“Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.” We know Sandy’s story. She’s Arthur’s cousin, the guy who’s in prison unjustly for the murder of Granny Sarah’s cousin. His wife, Candace, fell in love with the cable repairman while Arthur was in prison. Candace is pregnant, and she can’t decide what to do, so she talks to her best friend Sandy. Sandy was adopted, so Candace figures maybe she can help.
But, Sandy was having an affair with the same cable repairman, too. Jack’s got his own life; he wasn’t always in cable repair, he used to be the CIO of a major corporation until he lost his job for allegedly (the government couldn’t prove anything) hacking the FBI website for information on Granny Sarah. She was a spy, she got pregnant while on assignment, and she had a child whom she put up for adoption. He thought Granny Sarah might actually be his mother since he was adopted, too. But what he discovered….
Somehow in shows like that we manage to keep up with the tangle and weave of those folk’s lives. We do the same for our own lives, though they may or may not be so tangled. Our story is part of the stories of those around us — family, friends, neighbors.
When we look at a genealogy, we often only see a list of people, but those lists in the Bible sometimes cover hundreds of years which means they cover hundreds of lives, hundreds of stories. The lists contain lives that are tangled weave of dreams and disasters.
names mean stories
Let’s read the genealogies trying to imagine these people’s lives. For instance, the prayer of Jabez comes in these readings, but we probably miss the very last bit of 1 Chronicles 4.10, “And God granted what he asked.” Well, what did all that look like? Did Jabez get more land, subjugate his enemies, and live a pain free life?
What about Bithiah, “the daughter of Pharaoh,” who was Mered’s wife (1 Chronicles 4.17)? She had two sons, but what was Mered doing marrying an Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter when the Israelites had spent so much time escaping Egypt? What about poor Shimei’s wife who bore sixteen (16) sons and six (6) daughters. Maybe she’d had enough after the first dozen, or maybe Shimei had more than one wife (1 Chronicles 4.27).
These are just a few examples of the dozens of names, dozens of lives, dozens of stories contained in the genealogies. Maybe, just maybe, they had lives like ours: lives full of good news, bad days, crazy family, hard work, great food, noisy kids, fighting neighbors, donkey traffic jams, losing loved ones, finding new friends, and the prayers, songs, and worship that happen in a living, loving relationship with God.
Stories, just stories. They have them, and we have them. And the best part is that we get to be part of God’s story. In the warp and woof of the Grand Weaver, who knows us, loves us, and redeems us, we are part of the best story in the world.
All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us (Ecclesiastes 1.8-10).
By the way, Sandy and Arthur are actually brother and sister. Granny Sarah had twins while on assignment in Europe, and they were placed with two different American military families. Her cousin, Margaret, was on assignment as a spy, too, but on the side of the enemy because she fell under the Marxist spell in college. Arthur didn’t accidentally kill her, he was holding a vendetta against her because she caused the death of his adopted father while he was serving in Southeast Asia in the Air Force…. Tune in tomorrow…or just tune into God’s story in your life.
Godspeed your journey as you take the fire with you.
A text for the table: 1 Chronicles 4.5-5.17.
Image credit: “Like Sands through the Hourglass.”