Editor’s note – This is the fourth in a 4-part series written by my husband, who has been serving teens and their families for over ten years. If you are just tuning in, catch up with Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.
Reality Check #4: Where We are Heading, Trouble will be no More:
Although life as a family can be very rewarding, sometimes being in the trenches of raising a family is no picnic in the park. Along with all the joys of life come the heartaches and headaches of the every day struggles. Some of you may feel like your marriage is on a one-way trip to disaster. Some of you may feel like a failure because your teenage child is seamlessly out of control. Some may feel regret for what you could have done better, what might have been. Some of you hold grudges against family members you feel have wronged you in the past, possibly due to multiple offenses against you. Life hurts, and sometimes family life can be downright painful.
I will be the first to admit I have made multiple mistakes as a husband and a parent. I have caused a lot of unnecessary pain. I do not go out looking to have those “What was I thinking?” moments, but it happens. I would not be able to count the number of times I’ve had to go back and apologize to my kids for a careless mistake I made.
The good news is there is hope. There is forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and there is promise that one day Jesus will return and transform our weak mortal bodies into perfect immortal bodies. The apostle Paul writes, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21, ESV)
Since I was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, by default I am a citizen of the United States of America while on this earth. Because of my faith in Christ, I was born again. So by default, my ultimate citizenship is in heaven. My focus should be on eternity, on those things that are unseen. As a husband and a father, I cannot dwell on my past mistakes. In Christ Jesus, every day, and even every waking moment can be a fresh start.
Paul knew it was all about having the right perspective: how he viewed and handled trouble in this world would determine how he lived. For Paul, the pain and problems of this life looked microscopic compared to eternity in heaven: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, ESV).
This verse makes me think of the lyrics of a song by Building 429, “All I know is I’m not home yet. This is not where I belong.” There is something ingrained deep down in the heart of every one of us that shouts, “I don’t belong here!” Even for the person who is far away from Jesus, deep down inside, although he may not be able to pinpoint it, he knows something is not right. We are all in need of rescue, and there is only one true Savior who can rescue us from the mess of this fallen world. That one Savior, Jesus, told his disciples to not let their hearts be troubled, but instead to trust in Him, for He was going to prepare a place in heaven for them (John 14:1-4). We must do all we can to make sure those we are closest to, those who know us best, will be in this eternal home with us. On one hand, we are totally dependent on the power of God alone to save a soul. On the other hand, we have the responsibility to model the relentless love of Christ to our family, and that they would know without a doubt we believe this reality: where we are headed, trouble will be no more, for God will dwell with his people, and “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).
Do you believe having an eternal perspective on life makes a difference in who you are as a spouse and/or parent?
photo by: brendan-c