Raising the Next Generation of Christians
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PASSING THE BATON
Having taught and written about the Scriptures for decades, Anne Graham Lotz is a veteran when it comes to sharing her stalwart faith. To illustrate the sharing of faith, Anne fondly recounts how her late husband, Danny, took their three young children to his alma mater, UNC, on spring weekends to watch the track and field events.
Their favorite event was the four by 100-meter relay race, in which four runners subsequently run 100 meters each, passing a baton to the next runner. Anne likens the sharing of faith to passing that baton. “You and I are in a race called life,” she says. “The Baton is Truth that leads to faith in Jesus Christ.”
She explains how faith was passed on in the human race before the worldwide flood. “In Genesis 5, we find a genealogy that lists ten generations and reveals the passing of the baton from one to the next. Each man listed lived in the midst of a civilization dominated by Cain’s attitude of defiance toward God. The civilization was so wicked that it provoked God’s judgment, resulting in the Flood.” Those biblical examples of passing on the faith are: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah. “Like Cain’s civilization, ours is experiencing a bankruptcy of moral and spiritual values that threaten to erode our very existence.”
Anne is grateful for the example of her family. “My own parents were so confident in who God is and what God has said that it never crossed my mind – nor, to my knowledge, the minds of my siblings – to doubt either God’s existence or God’s Word. Both of my parents were raised by parents who were confident in God. My grandfather also met with other men in his city to pray that God would raise up an evangelist to the world, never dreaming that God’s answer would be his own son.”
A VIEW INSIDE THE GRAHAM AND LOTZ HOMES
Throughout their book, Anne explains how Scripture exhorts us to use our witness, worship, walk, and work to pass on a legacy of faith, while Rachel-Ruth adds to each section with illustrative family stories. They’re sometimes funny, other times heart-wrenching, but always engaging.
In one such story, Rachel-Ruth praises her well-known grandmother, Ruth Bell Graham, for many wonderful qualities, including wit, wisdom, kindness, and frugality. To offer an example of the latter, she shares, “Tai Tai,” as her grandkids called her, “was creative and confident and thrifty and never let the world and all its frippery change her.
Once, she and Daddy Bill (as the grandkids called Billy Graham) were asked to attend a formal dinner with elite dignitaries, but she didn’t have anything to wear and had no time to go shopping. In typical Tai Tai fashion, she looked through the clothing in her luggage to see whether she could turn anything into something formal. That evening she attended the formal dinner in her nightgown, dressed up with a string of pearls! I know she must have looked amazingly elegant.”
Her world-famous grandfather, Billy Graham, gave her - and all the family members – a gift Rachel-Ruth will always cherish: his full attention. “At our evening meals, Daddy Bill told us stories of his travels – but only when we asked him to. He never bragged. Ever. He was attentive to us and asked us questions.
He loved hearing about what God was doing in our lives. He wanted to know what I was teaching in Bible study and what my girls were involved in. When we were with him, he was fully invested in us. He always managed to make us feel special,” she fondly recalls. “Daddy Bill exuded a real-life Cary Grant type of elegance but with southern charm. He was kind, thoughtful, and attentive. With all that he had going on and with all the people who wanted his ear, he had a remarkable way of giving you his full attention. I felt loved and cherished when I was around him.”
In looking to her own father, Danny Lotz, Rachel-Ruth recounts a poignant story from her youth. “A common misconception about my family is that since both of my grandfathers were evangelists and preachers, everyone in the family must be saints. In reality, we are all a bunch of sinners, making mistakes, in need of discipline and correction,” she readily admits.
“I’m ashamed to say that my sister and I could get pretty ugly at times. One afternoon, Morrow and I had gotten into yet another knock-down, drag-out fight. Unfortunately, on this particular afternoon, I did something to push Morrow beyond the limits of her patience. She chased me out of our room, down the stairs, through the kitchen, and around the corner toward the back door.
My memory of the scene is all in slow motion. As I rounded the corner, I could see the glass door ahead barring my way to freedom. I opened the latch as fast as I could, and in my adrenaline-fueled panic, I slammed it right as she reached me. What I hadn’t anticipated in that moment of victory was that the glass would shatter on impact. Into a million shards. Much to my shame, I didn’t even turn around to look. I knew I was as good as dead.”
After being given time to stew in her own guilty juices, young Rachel-Ruth heard her father’s footsteps on the stairs. “I contemplated packing my pants with stuffed animals to cushion the sting of the spankings that were sure to come. As if my dad wouldn’t notice the shape of Peter Rabbit under my sweatpants!” What he said, stunned her. “Rach, I want to teach you about grace. What you did was wrong. You deserve to be punished and spanked. (He even gritted his teeth dramatically when he said it.) But instead of punishing you for breaking the glass door, I am going to take you to get ice cream.” He went on to explain how each of us deserves death for our sins, but God gives grace through the death of Christ. “I think that was the first time I truly grasped what grace is, and I’ve never forgotten it.”
JONATHAN GRAHAM HEALING FROM COVID
Anne’s only son, Jonathan, was admitted to the ICU in late July, while battling Covid. He was released on August 1, and went to recover at his mother’s home. Anne says that while he is once again on supplemental oxygen, and goes to rehab twice a week, his numbers are good and he is slowly, steadily improving. She is deeply grateful for the prayers of saints all over the world for her son.
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