Clinging to the Covenant

Still
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I’ve thought a lot about God’s covenant promises since becoming a grandmother six years ago. I’m thankful for the faith legacy passed down to me from my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and as far back as we can trace. God has proved faithful from generation to generation.

But I have one nagging worry: will I be the weakest link? My faith has been flaky at times in my life, and my children have witnessed my inconsistencies and failures. Have I properly equipped them for their torch-bearing task?

By the time my grandson was born, my walk with God had steadied and even soared, thanks to God’s incredible grace and perseverance. Out of gratitude for my restoration, I felt passionate about pouring into my grandson all that I have learned about our loving and compassionate Savior.

The biggest challenge in this mission was and is the 2,300 miles that separate us. How could I carry out my covenant responsibilities from such a distance? Not only that, how could I be the coolest grandma ever when I see him so seldom?

On the day my grandson Tre was born, I flew cross-country from California to Michigan and was able to hold him in my arms within an hour of his birth. I spent his first 10 days in my daughter’s home, helping her care for him but also stealing every second possible to bond with him myself.

Before catching my flight home, I laid Tre in my lap and earnestly prayed the Aaronic blessing over him, with my tears streaming down onto his little body: “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you his peace.”

A few months later Tre’s parents brought him to church for baptism, which was administered by my father, Tre’s great-grandfather. I felt assured again of God’s covenant blessings on Tre, that the waters of baptism would follow him all the days of his life.

I have since found excuses to visit Tre three to four times each year, and our times together are special. We play, laugh, read, pray, bake, watch his favorite movies, sleep in tents way too small for me, eat lots of sugary treats, and we talk about God.

To my delight, Tre thinks deeply about the Creator and loves to ask theological questions: Why can’t we see God? Why is God in three persons and not 100?

On one of these visits, I was explaining to 5-year-old Tre how we become Christians—that it starts with God loving us and us loving him back, and at some point we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and he promises to never leave. Later that day, when I asked Tre to tell his mommy how a person becomes a Christian, he repeated my explanation and then said, “I want to do that.”

Right there in the back seat of the car, Tre pulled up his knees, bowed his head, folded his hands, and said, “Dear God, please come into my heart. Amen.” Then he looked up and with amazement declared, “He was already there!”

With tear-filled eyes and abundant prayers of thanksgiving, I realized what God was trying to teach me: God is the Covenant Keeper. It’s not about me—God was already there! God has promised to be a God to us, to our descendants, and to the generations after us.

I’m clinging to that promise and breathing a big sigh of relief.

About the Author

Rev. Bonny Mulder-Behnia serves as family ministries pastor for Rosewood Christian Reformed Church in Bellflower, Calif.

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