Families … Wow… Ugh … Hmm. Nothing better … Nothing more challenging than families. We love them, we are stuck with them, and some of the greatest and hardest moments of life come with dealing with family.
Scripture gives us insights into how to do family well. Joshua commits his family to the Lord in Joshua 24:15. Wives and husbands are given a glimpse of the love which can exist through mutual submission and loving one another as Christ loves his church in Ephesians 5. Psalm 127 sings of the blessing of children and Proverbs 22:6 tells us that if we start children off on the way they should go that even when they are old they will not turn from it.
But we all know that none of our families are perfect or look nearly as good as other families pictures do on Facebook. Many of us just wish our children would act as nicely at home as they do in public (I take consolation that at least most of the time they at least behave in public)! Most of us even have moments where we feel we have miserably failed our spouses, our parents, our children, God, ourselves and everyone else in this thing called family.
Take heart! If you spend enough time in scripture you find lots of imperfect families as well. In Genesis, we meet Jacob and all his family (one of whom is Joseph) and the more we read, the more we realize how messed up they were. Jealousy, high degrees of favoritism, sibling rivalry, hatred, humiliation, lying, cheating and more. Emotions and years of dysfunction led ten of the brothers to chunk Joseph down a well and then sell him into slavery and tell dear daddy that his favorite son had been killed by wild animals. It is a messed up technicolored story, but a story that leads to some amazing redemptive work by God (that’s in a later devotional).
When I read of the challenges faced by Jacob’s family I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that my family isn’t the only one with problems. I am encouraged that God can and does work even in the midst of our imperfections for His love to be revealed (even if it takes a long time in some cases). And I am also convicted as a man of God, as a husband, as a dad, as a son, as a brother that the greatest impact I can have on my family is to make sure that I am nurturing my relationship with God. Walking closely with God helps me to be the me that God created me to be so that I can bring Him more fully into our family.
So take a deep breath and keep lifting yourself and your family up to God in prayer. And may the amazing God of all the colors show up in bright, vivid and robust ways to penetrate any darkness which may exist or long to be present within our families.
Grow in grace my friends!