While in Lakeland, Florida, this winter, we were fortunate to meet a lot of loving, caring, Christian friends. Like us, many have grandchildren and share the same love and concern we have for them.
I thought of them while writing this letter. It also gave me an idea. With my family”s permission, I put this letter in a blog-post format, praying it may inspire many Grandpas and Grandmas to communicate with their kids in their own way. Just a thought. So, here it is:
Our dear Priya, Vanessa, Jackson, Daniel, and Jojo, Apapa’s and Amama’s dearly beloved, I do not think I have ever done this before, writing a letter to our grandchildren. There was no need for it since we live very close and visit very often. Now that we are on a winter break it feels like “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Besides, Apapa has been writing a few blog posts on Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar for the last few months. I would like to glean some finer points from it and communicate them to you.
At ease, this is not a sermon. I am not even thinking about it. In fact, I am working in my garden, a strange but good place for inspiration. It will be short, I promise.
I am trying to convey how much we love and hold you all in our daily prayers. You already know it. We encourage you to grow up as our Heavenly Father wants you to become, reaching your full potential in life.
In this letter I am using as object lessons two teenagers from the Old Testament- Joseph and Daniel. It so happened, two of you were named after them, not to mention that your great grand parents named me “Daniel”. They always sang louder the old favorite Sunday School song- “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone”.
First let me show a few similarities between Joseph and Daniel. Both were teenagers, (17-19 years) when traumatic experience fell on their lives. In the case of Daniel, a national disaster struck when their nation was conquered and plundered by the ruthless, powerful pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar. I call him Neb. Daniel with his three friends, and many others were taken as prisoners.
For Joseph, it was worse. He had a “dysfunctional family life”. First, his own brothers, were jealous and thought of murdering him. They later changed their minds and sold him for a cheap price of twenty silver coins to merchants heading to Egypt. They lied to their father, Jacob, to cover their wicked crime. If that was not enough, for no fault of his, Joseph was framed by his master’s wife and got locked up in prison. What a horrible experience for two teenagers.
I will leave it to your imagination what was going on in Daniel and Joseph’s young minds as they both were trudging along to a strange land. It must have shaken their faith in Almighty God. Being human, young, far from parents and family, were they asking themselves, “why me, where is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”?
It might have appeared accidental, yet it was totally in God’s plan, landing both Daniel and Joseph in the palaces of the two most powerful kings of that time. These were handsome and winsome teen agers and yet they did not compromise their principles. For Daniel and his friends, they refused to eat the King’s prepared rich diet, or worship idols as ordered. They stuck to their simple meals of vegetables and prayed to God. For Joseph, he did not give in to temptation with his boss’ wife and as a result was wrongly convicted and sent to prison.
Here is an interesting point. The two monarchs in these stories had something in common. They were both dreamers. So were Daniel and Joseph! As to the kings, their court wise men could not interpret their dreams. By the way, God brings unusual circumstances to advance his plans. For Daniel , he made it clear to Neb that his dream could not be interpreted by anyone except Jehovah through his servant Daniel. He was gracious to the King’s wise men and pleaded with the king not to harm them when they failed to interpret the King’s dreams.
Joseph, on the other hand, not only interpreted Pharaoh’s dream but also devised a careful well thought out seven year plan to avoid a catastrophe on resources for food, storage and distribution.
I wonder what it would be like today? It may not be dreams and interpretations. But could circumstances lead you into a new kind of problem solving- a new invention, a scientific or medical breakthrough, computers, space highways and its colonization, etc.? Would you be ready to rise to the challenge?
You will be facing, if not already, challenges for your future careers and appropriate universities etc. May the Lord help you to choose right. There will be decisions where you will have to draw a line in the sand and say “yes” to some and “no” to many other things. Choose good friends like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Almighty God who blessed and guided both Joseph and Daniel would do the same for you.
Apapa and Amama experienced, in a smaller measure, what it is to leave an old familiar setting and start a new life in a strange land. In our final segment of flight from New York, JFK airport to Toronto, Amama, your moms just seven and three were tired and sleeping. I looked at them. Then I turned my mind’s eyes to our Father in Heaven. I wondered how I would make it in a new country? What about these young daughters? It was then that I personally got a glimpse of the great and beautiful Twenty Third Psalm of David. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”.
Apapa would borrow a few words from the blessings of Moses to Israel and write to you such beautiful, smart, handsome grandchildren; “Eternal God is your refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms”. Your great grandfather always told me in his Mother Tongue, Tamil, “Trust in God, He will never let you down”. Apapa will lovingly admonish you of one thing, at all times; “Fear (holy reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. I have seen, strangely, anyone who misses this virtue seems to struggle in all other aspects in life.
God bless, Apapa and Amama