I’m preaching a series of messages at our church called Family Matters. We’ll be looking at various issues related to the family like the importance of the family; what God wants from our families; and how we can survive as families in a world that has gone mad. As I told our people yesterday, families can be messy things. I’ve come to the conclusion that we live in a rather messy world and our families have been affected – so we have messy families. The age of Ward, June, Wally and Beaver is over (and they thought they had messes to deal with? They had nothing!).
When I use the word messy I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of the problems we face in our families. I just can’t think of a better term to use to describe what I’m talking about. Families get messy when divorce rips a family apart. Families get messy when teenagers reject their parents authority. Families get messy when they are disrupted by alcohol, drugs or teen pregnancy. Families get messy when dad or mom lose their job, when parents fight, or when children are abused. Families get messy when they have no hope. There are a thousand and one ways that your family can get messy.
I don’t know what mess you’re dealing with today, but what do you do when things get messy in your family? It use to be that we dealt with messes by promising to pray and quoting a quick Bible verse. Somehow that doesn’t seem to work as well today. Maybe our messes are just that much messier. Maybe it’s simply that Christians today aren’t as spiritually mature as in previous generations.
I’m not against prayer or the Bible. I think that we need to pray for each other. I also believe that the Bible has good answers to our problems. But there are times when we’ve prayed and read all of the relevant scriptures and nothing changes. What then?
That’s where faith comes in. When all else fails – hang on! That’s just another way of saying, when you’ve done all you can do and nothing has changed, just keep on believing. Believe that God is in control of your life. Believe that even though you don’t understand what’s going on, He does. Believe that He loves you and cares about your pain. Believe that He is working in your life to change you into His image. Believe that He’s more interested in your holiness than in your comfort. Believe that He’s purifying you through the fire of adversity.
There are numerous examples in scripture of people who went through messy times, often without answers, and chose to hang on – to simply trust God. Job, Joseph, Daniel, and the three Hebrew children come to mind. I know that we look at them as spiritual giants and none of us will probably ever match up, but we can follow their example and hang on. We can choose to trust God.
Two passages come to mind. Read them again and ask God to give you the faith to believe Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
No trial has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tried beyond what you are able, but with the trial will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Stay in the Word