At this time of year some natural storms are resulting in flooding with the loss of crops, homes, jobs and lives. And this concerns us. However, our greater concerns are with the powerful and prevalent storms in the hearts and homes of many families today. These storms are spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, marital and familial. The wounds are deep, the pain is real, and for some the future seems bleak. But there is hope in God! There are no wounds too deep for Him to heal, and no storms in our hearts and homes that He cannot calm. Safety is not the absence of danger, it is the presence of God. Some Family Storms Failing to follow God’s guidelines for family relationships. It seems that we have become so busy – even with legitimate demands – that we tend to neglect spending time in God’s presence. There is also a lack of together time, family prayer/devotion time, and good communication in our family. As a result, some of us have become spiritually withered, emotionally drained, physically tired, frustrated, and even abusive in our family relationships.
Focusing more on temporal instead of eternal things. This often leads to flawed vision and poor choices that affect the whole family. Abraham took a long look at eternal values and unselfishly gave Lot first choice of land (Gen. 13:8-18). Lot, enticed by appearance and abundance, took a short look at temporal things and settled down in Sodom, a city under judgment. “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere … So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other” (Gen. 13:10-11 NASB). It is apparent that Lot was weak in his devotion as he had no altar in Sodom. As a result of his spiritual weakness, he was wrong in his decision and direction for his family’s life. Even today materialism never brings inward peace nor outward security.
Being full of “self” instead of the Spirit. When we are full of “self” we are prone to worship wealth, power and pleasure as the means to gratify the flesh, and inflate the balloon of pride. The selfish life is displayed in the family by control more than care, rule rather than responsibility, and authority without affection (Gal. 5:17-21) But if we are filled with the Spirit, there will be speaking, singing, giving thanks and submitting to one another (Eph. 5:18-21). Selfishness likes to be served, but love likes to serve others.
Giving God first place in our hearts and homes. Let’s begin today to welcome the truth of God’s Word into our lives and homes by reading it and walking in it. Let those around us know that our Lord and Savior can calm every storm in our troubled hearts. In His presence, selfishness is weak and our enemy is small. The stories of Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh (Ex. 11) and David’s with Goliath (1 Sam. 17:33-51) are examples of this. It is better to be with Christ in the storm, than to be without Him in the calm.
Redeeming the time by organizing our priorities. There is so much emphasis on physical intimacy and financial stability in the world today. While these things are good, our greatest needs are spiritual ones: spending time with the Lord; praying with our families; and displaying love for our Lord, our spouses, our children, our brothers and sisters in Christ and lost souls. God wants our precious time, not merely our spare time.
Resolving conflicts in our family. It is apparent that unresolved conflicts lead to loneliness, division, divorce, depression and even death. Thank God, that while Satan is a destroyer of the family, our Savior, the Deliverer of the family said: “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). Perhaps we may consider these four suggestions to help us resolve the conflicts which Satan uses to destroy families:
- Reveal the issues in the light of God’s Word. His light will reveal things as they are. Jesus did not come merely to shed light on the issues, He is the light of the world (Jn. 8:12). Be honest with Him, yourself, and others.
- Remove the barriers in love. There may be barriers in family relationships – including a breakdown in communication, a decrease in intimacy, an increase in selfishness – but Jesus is able to shatter every barrier, break our bondage, shoulder our burdens, and shower His blessings on us. We must take responsibility for our behaviors, confess our sins to God and each other, and be faithful to forgive (Eph. 4:31-32). When we do this, God’s love will cover a multitude of sins.
- Release the past to the Lord and do not keep records of wrongs. While the past cannot be undone, and we might not be able to forget, we can forgive and receive forgiveness, and joy can be restored (Ps. 51:10,12). If the wounds are too deep for us to resolve at home, we should seek Christian counseling.
- Remember to focus not on the gloom of the storm, but on the glory of the Savior who calms our storms. “He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm” (Mk. 4:39).
There is hope for your family: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org