by Judy Hubbard Hulsey
Have you heard of “Gen 4”? No, not Genesis 4, but Generation 4? If you pick up any business periodical, eventually you will see an article with the abbreviations “Gen 2” and “Gen 3.” The etymology comes from the concept of a patriarch or matriarch who creates wealth and wants to transfer it to the second and third genera- tion by creating a multigenerational legacy. But what is “Gen 4” and how do generational legacies apply to the covenant of God?
THE FOURTH GENERATION
When I think about generational legacies, I think about two different families: Abraham (Generation 1), Isaac (Generation 2), Jacob (Generation 3) and Joseph (Generation 4) and I think about my own family, specifically my Great-Grandmother Hubbard.
Looking at the generations of the Patriarch Abraham: Isaac and Jacob, we see the wealth was passed down from Abraham through Jacob, but so was their dysfunction and sin. Abraham had a tendency to lie, Isaac showed favoritism, Jacob was deceptive, and Joseph could be braggadocious. (He loved his new coat.) The examples of the biblical patriarchs may indicate that while wealth can be inherited, wisdom may not. This reminds me of the story of my Great-Grandma Hubbard and her subsequent impact on future generations.
Grandma Hubbard was a true matriarch with her generational legacy in mind. Around the time Oklahoma was becoming a state, she began building her wealth, one piece of property at a time. Known for her keen business acumen, she accumulated vast land holdings, and eventually came to also own the General Store and the bank in her town. Even on the day of her death at age 82, she was out measuring land to buy. Unfortunately, with the passing of my Great-Grandma, soon came the demise of her wealth.
Grandma’s estate was large enough to last a lifetime for Gen 2 and Gen 3. But just 10 years later, all her money was gone. How could this alarming loss happen so quickly? Perhaps it was because wisdom was not also passed down with the wealth.
Our family’s pain came not only from the loss of the money, but the circumstances and personal failures that accompanied it. The horror stories about my Dad (Gen 3), losing his inheritance, came with tremendous shame and embarrassment. We lived in a small rural town and his dealings were known by most. As each asset was sold, my dignity began to chip away. The conversations over the worry of money were a constant theme in our home. As a little girl, this was too, too much for me to handle emotionally. Even at 5 years old, I lived in constant fear. I went to bed worrying if there would be enough money to provide food and shelter, and whether I would be safe at night. It took me hours to fall asleep, laying awake worrying. Thus, the pattern began for me: every day and every night for the next 27 years I would be consumed with fear of the lack of money. To top it off, I had no hope—no hope for getting out of this miserable state. I wondered how I would ever break this cycle.
A CATALYST FOR CHANGE
When I was 32 years old, I moved to Orlando with the love of my life. I was sure Florida would be the land flowing with milk and honey. Instead, like Joseph, I found Egypt. And just like Joseph, it seemed I was in prison—except I had two prisons. I lived in a prison of fear about lack of money, and my relationship became a prison of dysfunction.
Not long after, my world turned upside down. Through one painful act of my beloved, my heart was completely broken. The emotional suffering was so severe I thought I would die … and for many, many years, that is what I wanted. I learned to camouflage my pain with a smile, but I recall times of being tucked in the fetal position, crippled by my emotional anguish. I became sure the pain would kill me.
Yet God had another idea. He wanted to redeem me. I did not know then, but I understand now that God was orchestrating a beautiful, surprising symphony of transformation— a symphony better than the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam or the Vienna Philharmonic. I was about to discover that my worst pain was going to be my greatest victory, and that was where the real journey with God would begin.
It was out of my extreme suffering that the layers and layers of my wounded heart had a chance to be healed. Though it was the beginning of my painful refining years, the removing of the dross, God was faithful. I began to really search for God’s truth. James 1:2-4 became my mantra: “Consider it all a joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance have its perfect and complete gift, that you are not lacking anything.” Soon I began to discern Satan’s lies and deception in my own life. I realized that the only way I could fight those lies was with the truth of the word of God. Bible Study Fellowship was a lifeline for me, while Howard Dayton’s biblical study on finances began to set me free from the fear of lack of money. I memorized every verse of that study, and after so many years, began to experience freedom.
A GENERATION REDEEMED
I was “Gen 4” in my family line from my Grandma Hubbard. Joel 2:25 became especially meaningful to me: “I want to redeem the years the locust have eaten.” I prayed that verse for 20 years, never imagining what would become of that prayer. Yet I prayed faithfully and held no expectations. Then one day, God said to me, “Judy, I want redeem all the years the locust have eaten in your life, including what Grandma Hubbard left.”
I thought, “What Lord, did I hear you correctly?” He said it again, “Judy I want to redeem the years the locust have eaten in your life for you, your sister Cynthia, and for other families.” I had to hear it 5 or 6 more times before I could believe it. But it was the Lord’s covenant to me. I learned God’s plan was to bless others through my generation.
It reminds me of another covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant that says the families of the world would be blessed through the physical line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3 states, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 22:18 adds, “…and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” God’s covenant to me was about generational redemption.
Covenants are generational. When we humble ourselves, and pray, so many things can be redeemed. Through all these years of pain, God was preparing me for a career of helping to redeem generational wealth and investing wisely in future generations. Praise God for His miraculous word and wisdom! He uses all our years for His glory.
Judy Hubbard Hulsey is a Financial Advisor at Allgen Financial Services, and specializes in family wealth strategies. She joined the church First Pres in 1988 and again in 2012. Her greatest joys are her nephews and nieces along with her four-legged baby, Lucy. She shares her story in the hope that it will resonate with others who long for God to redeem some part of their lives. You can email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org