“Are you ready to tear this house apart?” The man shouts into a bright yellow megaphone. Fifty men in hard hats pump their fists in the air and lift their sledge hammers. “Yeah!”
“Let’s do it,” he calls out as the wrecking crew charges into the house, tearing apart everything in their path.
The scene is from the hit TV series, Extreme Makeovers: Home Edition, which features seven carpenters and designers whose mission is to restore a deserving family’s life by renovating their house – in seven days.
Before they build something new though, the team first must tear down the old. The house sags under the assault as walls buckle and windows shatter. The house is virtually torn to pieces!
Does it seem as though a wrecking crew has charged up your front steps recently? Have financial challenges, health problems, or perhaps the death of a loved one dealt heavy blows to your home life? Unfortunately, hardship is not a respecter of persons or families.
To calm your nerves, here is a dose of spiritual truth: Do not forget God is in control. Someday, you may look back and see His hand working in your life – guiding, providing, comforting and sustaining. Those trials can be opportunities of a makeover for your family.
What timbers can God, the Master Carpenter, raise from the rubble of your situation?
The first quality of a strong family that emerges from the dust of trials is persevering faith. Paul rallied persecuted Christians in Rome by declaring, “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). Perseverance is the strengthening of your faith in God even through tough times.
Scripture’s model of perseverance is Job. The wrecking ball of trials hit his family and almost crushed his faith. Instead of caving in, Job admitted his inability to make sense of what appeared to be senseless, surrendering his confusion to God. As a result, Job’s faith endured.
Not everyone perseveres like Job. Sadly, when trials mount – sickness, loneliness, frustration, we blame God for our problems and lose our faith. Our strength runs out and we surrender to our circumstances rather than to God.
Unfortunately, some Christians lose heart during trials, but that doesn’t have to happen to us. Our families can hang on to our faith when we: read the Psalms, pray together rather than shut own, focus on Christ in our worship. Jesus answers all doubt about His love for us in the cross. In Him, we find courage and comfort.
The second quality a family remodeled by trials demonstrates is proven character. According to Paul, tribulation brings perseverance and perseverance brings “proven character” (Rom. 5:4). The raw metal that endures the oven’s fire becomes the strongest steel. The man who stays committed to his sick wife, the mother who keeps on loving her son in prison, or the parents who faithfully care for a special needs child-these, families showcase character.
Want to give your child the gift of character? Let trials do their character building work in your family. Develop strong character through reading stories of men and women of character. We all need heroes who model virtue.
Two perspectives can be helpful in developing strong character. One is looking back at the past, and the other is looking forward to the future. Healthy reflection on the hurt and deliberate expectation of the hope that certainly will come.
By looking back we can see a consistent pattern of God’s faithfulness through old trials. That produces confidence that any new struggle we may face can be just as difficult but also just as temporary. As a result, we endure the hurt with less fear. Further, by looking forward resolving to use our current struggle in a better future gives us a sense of mastery over the circumstances that may otherwise feel oppressive. Paul did this (Rom. 5:3-5). Resolving to take action in today’s circumstances helps us appreciate the promises of scripture as we press on to a brighter tomorrow.
People enduring a tragedy often need help moving beyond the pain. They may not have the ability to see hope beyond the hurt. They often need the healthy perspective of loved ones. We may need to recount to them the past when God demonstrated His faithfulness. Furthermore, they may have to depend upon others to see a future beyond their pain.
Is there someone you know who is carrying a giant load of suffering on their shoulders? Perhaps a friend or loved one can with a glance at the past and a realistic look in the future help that one see beyond the hurt and the pain. That is a gift that keeps on giving.
by Rickie Jenkins