Friday, February 8, 2008


Speaking with my brother yesterday, I mentioned that I thought it was still a possibility in this world to have a "perfect family". One that loves each other devotedly and does not fight and argue. One where each member of the family remains true to God's word and steadfast in His work. A family where each member enjoys gathering with other believers and sharing the burdens of others. Where each member desires ministry and enters into it with joy.

Then I came to my senses.
I don't think I want to be in a family like that.
In fact, I think my thoughts were heading in the wrong direction entirely.

One of the biblical principles found throughout scripture is that troubles will come to us. Not just physical. Not just emotional. Not just spiritual. All kinds.
Sometimes the troubles and pain come to us all wrapped up together and delivered at our family's little door.
Sometimes the pain is a predictable consequence of our actions. Maybe sinful, maybe not.
Sometimes we never see it coming. Pain just up and blindsides us. It is undeserved and yet, it incapacitates us.

As a nurse, I see my share of physical suffering. I have always quipped that the hospital is the real life "Heart-Break Hotel". However, the physical pain I see daily with my patients never compares in any way, shape or fashion to their emotional or spiritual suffering that they live with. More times than not, the internal pain is from family relationships.

All of my precious patient's family issues are no different than my own. Or anyone else's for that matter.

In I John 2:12-14, John (the beloved!) speaks to three different generations. The children, the fathers and the young men, each have their place in the Kingdom work. Some are young and growing in their Faith, some have the wisdom, and others have the strength to be the warriors.

God created His Gospel to be passed from one generation to the next. He uses His church to do this, but the family unit is where it all begins. The Family is where disciples are born and nurtured. God designed the plan and then set us down smack in the middle of it, knowing our capabilities and our frailties. He also has not been caught unaware of our culture influences. He has set us here in the middle of our family, in this day, for His work.

Families are where we get to practice our Faith and demonstrate God's love and grace in all circumstances,..good, bad, painful or joyous. When the wise, the young and the warriors are faithful or when they are foolish. We are to be loving and grace-filled to each other in all circumstances, but especially when it is not deserved. Families teach us to love God and follow His ways when we don't feel like it. They give us the boundaries and support. Roots and wings.

A perfect family?
Perfection can be a pride thing and pride appears to consistently irritate God.
God has never required perfection, but a family who demonstrates the traits listed above would seem to be pretty darn close.

A steadfast, loving, grace-filled family?
God Himself is in our corner.
Now that's attainable!

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