I ran across this great old picture the other day. I'm guessing it is right around 25 years old.
One of the things I love about this picture is that it has 3 generations. And what is so cool is it is 3 generations of men that live and lived their lives walking with God. And the impact has been a great and beautiful one.
What's interesting is... Papa Merle came from a tough home life. Though no one ever heard him speak of it, Jon's mom Mary tells the story that Merle as a young boy had a Dad that was brutal and mean and drove Merle's mom to commit suicide right in front of him.
All that to say, Merle didn't say "this is just the family line I've been given so I'm going to just continue on more of the dreadful same." Instead, he decided to walk with God in a simple yet beautiful and glorious way.
He was a kind and loving man with a beautiful smile. He was giving and thoughtful. He is now in heaven, and it will be incredible to see him again!
Merle is such a great picture of the fact that one doesn't have to settle for what was handed to them in any area of life. We can instead settle for what God has in store for us, and it's not more evil but rather to usher in God's love and beauty into the world.
Merle decided to "...Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another..." Romans 12:9-10. The effect Merle's decision has made on the generations that have followed him is something to marvel at.