I failed high school chemistry. Okay, I almost failed high school chemistry. Having done enough to pass it and kiss it goodbye, I have succeeded in my adult life without the truths I gained or lost in that class. Let’s go with, “It was the teacher’s fault; he was boring!”
Truthfully, many of us may not have succeeded at scholastic chemistry, but the consequences of failing the chemistry of family life can be fatal.
Over the last two summers, our eldest daughter has had the privilege to spend elongated times with family members who live out of our area. Accordingly, one of our nephews has filled the gap left in Phebe’s absence. Our nephew is a fine, young man who is the same age as our son. However, living eleven months of the year with four of our own children, including three daughters, the presence of two nine year old boys in the house creates a different dynamic in our home.
This, of course, is not the first time we have experienced dynamic changes in our family. As our children change at different intervals and in different ways, our home is always in flux. My wife and I do not mind it, but we have to be prepared for it.
Recently, I have been preaching through the family section of the book of Genesis. Beginning in chapter twelve, we are introduced to Abram and his wife, Sarai. They are childless seekers of Jehovah. As the story develops, Sarai offers her handmaid, Hagar, to lie with Abram in order to raise up seed to him. The birth of Ishmael creates a new and unwelcomed dynamic into the home. Years later Isaac is born and when the son of promise is weaned, the dynamics of Ishmael and Isaac vying for prominence becomes a teaming cauldron of explosiveness.
As your family and mine endures these changes, may the Lord help us to enjoy all of them. Consider a few tips that might help your family in your next dynamic shift:
- Keep the Lord at the center of your home
Our relationship with the Lord is the glue that must hold our family together. In consideration of all the changes that life may bring, do not allow those things to change your love for the Lord, time in His Word, or faithfulness to His house. How can we expect God to bless our family if our spiritual lives are a mess?
- Love one another
True love is not conditional. As God’s Word says, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it. The love of the husband for his wife, the love of the wife for her husband, or the love of the parent for the child, must be constant and unchanging. If our “love” does not remain constant through life’s changes, it is not an indictment regarding the changes happening in our loved one. Rather, it is indictment on the unfaithfulness of our heart.
When my wife or myself feels those dynamics change, it is time to talk things out. Those three daughters that I have will experience changes that I, obviously, as a man cannot understand. I need my wife to help me understand how they are feeling and how I can help them. Without proper communication, those changes can explode if overlooked.
Also, we want to foster open lines of communication with our children. We want them to be able to come to us with any problem, because a world of ungodly and unbiblical advice lies at their fingertips via google. Our children need to know our hearts!
- Be ready to call an audible
When how we are leading is not working or the changes we face demand a new focus or direction, we must be sensitive to the Lord in calling an audible.
Abraham and Sarai got into this mess when he listened to Sarai and not the Lord. He laid with Hagar against God’s wisdom. Now Isaac is in the home and Ishmael, a teenager, is mocking the “baby of the family.” Sarah comes unglued! For the second time, she says to her husband, “They have to go!” Abraham thinks to himself, “Sure! I’m going to listen to you!!! You got us in this mess and your advice is not going to get us out!” But the Lord appears to Him and in essence says, “Hearken to your wife, Abraham. She’s right this time. Call an audible!” He did, and his family succeeded.
If your family is changing before your eyes today, keep the Lord preeminent, love one another, communicate, and be ready to call an audible. It might just save your family and mine from a real crisis.