Wedged between the genealogies in 1 Chronicles is an inspiring account of a woman named Sheerah who refused to be defined by her past and who overcame great loss to build a legacy that would last for generations.
Her story begins with her grandfather, Ephraim:
‘[Ephraim had two sons who] were killed trying to steal livestock from the local farmers near Gath. [He] mourned for them a long time, and his relatives came to comfort him. Afterward, Ephraim‘s [wife] gave birth to a son [and he] named him Beriah because of the tragedy his family had suffered’ – 1 Chronicles 7:21-23 (NLT)
Ephraim was devastated. The loss he experienced was so great that nothing and no one could comfort him. Not even another son would replace the loss he experienced, as he named his son Beriah, which literally means ‘adversity’. The hardship Ephraim suffered began to define his whole outlook on life. The interesting thing is that Ephraim’s own name comes from the root word, ‘ashes’. Even his own name reflected how he viewed his situation.
But then came Sheerah, Ephraim’s granddaughter. She would’ve grown up being well aware of the loss and devastation of her grandfather. But rather than carrying a legacy of loss, she carved out a new direction and built a legacy that would impact generations to come:
‘[Beriah] had a daughter named Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah’ (7:24)
Instead of being defined by the death of her brothers, Sheerah literally created a place of life for others. Out of the adversity of the past and from the ashes of grief, she redefined her families legacy.
While her brothers lost their lives in the act of taking from others, Sheerah discovered that life wasn’t found in what she had taken, but what she had given.
Never let your future be defined by the adversity or ashes of the past. Although it’s important and healthy to go through seasons of grief, make the decision to define your legacy on not what was taken, but what you have given!