My grandfather, David, with his father, Joe with their mules.
Travel across the country wasn't as easy in 1915 as it is today. The stamina of my great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth moving from Iowa to Pennsylvania with two small children amazes me.
Two weeks after their move, another son was born to the family.
A few generations further back, women held seasick children in treacherous journeys across the wide ocean to find a home where they could worship in freedom.
Travel was even more difficult when Abraham told Sarah they were packing their tents and moving to a strange land that God would show them.
Noah's wife did not have the support of friends when her husband informed her of God's command to build an ark and his intention to abandon everything familiar in order to obey God.
We can only guess at the reaction of Sarah or Noah's wife. Did they question their husband's sanity? Did they resent the need to pull up stakes? Did they worry about their children's future if their parents were radical in their obedience to God? We don't know.
Neither do I know my great-grandmother's reaction to her husband's decision to move east. Mary Elizabeth had family in Pennsylvania, which perhaps made the move easier. But they were exchanging deep, rich farmland for rocky soil. Joe would never be a wealthy man. At the end of his life, he was training mules and milking sixteen cows on the same few acres in southern Pennsylvania.
But Mary Elizabeth had more in common with Sarah and Noah's wife than a change in location. Like Abraham and Noah, her husband was concerned about the evil influences around him. He was aware that spiritual victory may mean sacrifice, possibly even a change of occupation and a new home. Today, one hundred years later, I can trace the faithfulness of my great-grandparents and rejoice n a Godly heritage they gave to me.
Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him “lord,” even as Noah's wife followed her husband into an ark that was the saving of her household, even as my great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth endured the discomforts of a mid-winter train trip heavy with child - so I desire to support my husband in his decision to follow God regardless of the sacrifice of personal comfort.