“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
There’s no pain like family pain ….
I have been feeling the sting even as this Mother’s Day approaches, and I have felt the sorrow at the loss of relationships, felt the betrayal of a child, and watched from afar the struggles of my children as they try to find their way ….
As our Scripture opens with: “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” …. In other words; the house will be built in vain and filled with pain ….
Family life can be delightful and dynamic if prioritized correctly, but it can be difficult and draining if neglected or tended to improperly. Basically, if life is not working at home, it’s not working period ~ no matter how “successful” we may be in other areas or places in our lives. And if our families are the biggest target of pain in our hearts; our children are the very bull’s-eye ….
This has been true in my own experience. I dare say, nothing wounds so deeply as a child’s harsh words inflicted cruelly to a mama’s heart; even those coming from a grown child, if not even more so the worse ….
This is true today, and it was true in Bible times. As I was studying this last night, I read about David and his rebellious son, Absalom, whose life unfolds like a sordid soap opera. Absalom murdered his half-brother as retribution for raping his sister, Tamar. The relationship broken and estranged from his father, Absalom led a exploit, turning David’s most trusted advisors against him and chasing him from the throne and out of Jerusalem ….
David waited in exile while the shattered remains of his army were out fighting his own son. He didn’t care about the battle, the victory, or his throne. What the king desperately wanted to know was whether Absalom was safe ~ the very son trying to overthrow him, the son who would kill him if he had a chance! He was more worried and concerned over his son than himself. Isn’t that just like a parent?
When David learned Absalom was dead, he cried, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33) The enemy was his own flesh and blood. Those we love most are also those to whom we are most vulnerable ….. Even Jesus said, “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
The Bible makes no effort to sanitize the pain families can experience. In fact, Scripture is rife with examples of dysfunction: the family of Noah, the man of faith; the story of Eli, the Lord’s priest; of Hosea, God’s chosen prophet …. The stories parallel our own lives and confirm that there is no pain like family pain …. Even Christian homes are crippled by divorce, absent parents, abuse, neglect, and financial distress …. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt us from pain or struggle, from dysfunctions in our families, just as a child being a pastor or preacher’s son or daughter doesn’t guarantee they will lead right or righteous lives or necessarily make great choices …. Even friends and strangers will pass through our lives; some bringing joy, some leaving sorrow, some just leaving ….. you may be left empty and numb, bearing the remnants of pain, empty promises, shattered dreams, lingering faded tattoos, but one thing remains: scars …..
So is all hope lost? God forbid! Hope begins by identifying our problems for what they are: as sin. Until we are willing to call the issues in our own home what they really are; my sin, my neglect, my avoidance of the issues, my refusal to live according to Scripture; we are closed to the grace of God for transformation or restoration. If we call an indescretion what God calls iniquity, we absolutely forfeit His grace ….
The good news? God can transform your family, and He can bring in wayward prodigal children. Family pain can be healed if you are willing to acknowledge its source and deal with it His way …. Only God can change our families. We have no power of ourselves, as we remember our opening verse ~ “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain.” Unless you are linked in partnership with God, all your efforts to transform your family will fall short. You can never be a good enough, smart enough, or tough enough parent to keep your children following the right path, and you cannot make them choose right actions or thoughts. This is why the verse in (Proverbs 22:6) is important: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
If we teach our children about the Lord, instill family values and wholesome morals into them, and then teach
them to reverence and respect the Lord, to fear God, to pray often, and of most importance; if you are partnering with Him, and allowing Him to lead, then your best days are certainly ahead …. Remember to pray in earnest for your family as your righteous prayers will be heard and honored by God ….. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
In conclusion, reflect on a time in your life when you experienced deep family pain. What did you feel during the low points? What seeds of hope helped you endure? Talk to God about the seemingly insurmountable problems in your family right now. What would you love to see Him heal or resurrect?
Let us pray ~
Lord, I thank You for the hope that is found in you alone. I need your hope to sustain me. My family isn’t all that it should be and it is causing me heartache, sorrow and pain. I acknowledge the root problem is sin, and I confess my own sinfulness of neglect, through my own self-centerness and pursuits of self. I confess that I did not teach them about You as I should have, and my heart is burdened with my shame, guilt and grief. Please cleanse me of my sin and make me right first with You, and then with my family. Please heal us all and restore the breach in the relationships that have been broken. I lay my sorrows and my problems before You at Your feet, and I surrender my family to You now and I plead for Your help and Your intervention. Build our house that my labors not be in vain. I stand in the gap today for them and their families as well, and ask that You intercede on my behalf in their lives. I ask all this in the name of Jesus, the cornerstone of my life and my home, amen and amen ….
Today; I pray for the mending of broken relationships in your family. May the Prince of Peace heal and restore those relationships. May He destroy the communication barriers and the dividing walls of hostility. I pray for openness in your family and that there will be no more divisions and quarrels among you. May you be perfectly united in mind and in thought. May all relationships in your family be filled with the peace of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
God is with us ….. God bless you all this day!