A husband and wife can get
so busy doing different things they forget to take time to care for themselves.
Or, a husband gets burned out from ministry and is depressed. A son shoplifts
and makes staying out all night a habit. That same son a few years later moves in
with his girlfriend and they have a baby.
Eddie Thompson, a family
ministry senior consultant with the Baptist State Convention (BSC), began
“Family Shock: How to Keep Your Family Strong in a Crazy World” by describing
situations that families may come up against.
Thompson shared with
participants in a breakout session during the BSC’s annual meeting that those
weren’t just random examples of “family shock.”
“All those things happened
in my home,” he said. Thompson has experienced much pain and struggle within
his family. Just a few years after he married he found himself, along with his
wife, wondering if they could really make the marriage work.
Thompson and his wife did
not despair nor give up, although they both thought about doing so. They
allowed God to teach them, and now Thompson is able to use what he learned
during the difficult times to comfort others going through similar situations.
God is allowing him to teach out of his experiences.
He wants parents and
families to discover how God’s Word is all they need to keep their families
strong during the chaotic and confusing times.
Avoiding family shock begins with developing a right way of thinking and
understanding that a believer’s identity is found in Jesus Christ and in
“We are in a truth
struggle,” Thompson said. “We need to learn who we are in Christ.”
Families also need to
remember who is actually supposed to be giving leadership to the family. It’s
not mom or dad or a child. John 16:13 says the Holy Spirit guides believers in
Humility is the first step
toward giving the Holy Spirit leadership in the family. Husbands and wives must
be willing to admit when they are lost and have no idea what to do or where to
turn next. “The Holy Spirit ought to be the real leader in our families,”
Thompson said. “We don’t know what to do until the Holy Spirit tells us what to
Thompson shared that prayer
— the right kind of prayer — is critical to a family’s health and gave a
personal example to illustrate what he meant by right praying. When Thompson
found out his son’s girlfriend was pregnant he was already “fatigued from the
war” that had been raging with his son for years.
So Thompson immediately
refused when his son called and asked him to bring furniture for his new
Although Thompson had agreed that his son could have the furniture
from the family’s old house, his son wanted him to load it all up, drive
several hours and then unload it for him. Thompson saw the request as
However, Thompson’s wife
urged him to pray about it, and before long they had not only delivered the
furniture but decorated the apartment and filled the kitchen with groceries and
pots and pans as well. Later that day Thompson’s cell phone rang and a quiet,
tender voice on the other end whispered, “Daddy, daddy, thank you for helping
me.” Thompson never, ever thought he’d hear his son say thank you.
Through that experience
Thompson learned he had not prayed rightly for his son. He asked God to stop
his son’s sinful behavior because he and his wife were in pain; because they
were tired of the war. Thompson prayed selfishly because his motives for
praying were really directed toward himself; he wanted relief and comfort.
Instead, Thompson learned he needed to offer up prayers that honored God and
sought God’s purpose for his son. Thompson urged husbands and wives to maintain
a right view of marriage. Marriage is not meant to just bring happiness,
because if that were the case, “you would need a new marriage every few years,”
“What if God’s purpose for
marriage goes beyond happy? What if marriage is a giant sanctification machine
meant to make you holy? If you aim for holiness, you’ll get the happiness along
He closed out the session by
reminding parents that Col. 3:15 is a call to live in peace. If God’s peace is
not ruling in the hearts of believers, the family will never experience peace.