Ever feel like your family is unique?…in a bad way?

I can’t tell you the number of people over the years that have sat down to discuss their family problems.  Each time, the impassioned individual raises the inevitable assumption, they are alone.  In the midst of family dysfunction, we tend to think we are the only ones with problems, don’t we?

I have great news for you…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  Each time the scenario plays itself out, I look across the table at the individual and say, “We all have dysfunctional families.”  Even the most “normal” families have that looney relative or the crazy aunt, or the dogmatic atheist cousin, or the rebellious child, and the list goes on and on and on.  Look hard enough and you will see, there is no such thing as a “normal” family.

But what comforts my soul more than this fact…God was in the business of using dysfunctional families.  It was Abraham who first passed his wife off as his sister.  Then his nephew’s family was destroyed in the wicked Sodom and Gomorah.  Then there was the whole “killing your own son” episode.  And things didn’t get any better with his son Isaac.  He followed in his father’s footsteps trying to pass his wife off as his sister (what is it with that?!).  Then he had two sons that were polar opposites (one was red and hairy, the other a momma’s boy – aren’t you proud of your kids!).  Then his two sons decided to be at war with each other, with one always seeming to get the upper hand on the other.  And the list could go on and on and on (there was Noah and his kids, David and his sons, Hosea the prophet, etc. etc.).

We have been studying the life of Jacob at church on Sunday mornings and in my study I noticed something I had never seen before…Genesis 35:29, “And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days.  And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”  It may not seem like much to you, but in the context of all that has happened in Jacob’s life, this is quite a statement.

On many occasions I am given the opportunity to facilitate a funeral service.  Over the years, some of them have been a real joy as the family celebrates the life in Christ their loved one had.  Sometimes the service is filled with a natural sadness as the hope in Christ is not present.  But the most inconsistent component of every funeral…the family.  Even when the service is for an individual you know, there are times when you are meeting their family for the first time.  And when you start getting family involved, things can get interesting.  I have been involved in services where the family wouldn’t sit together.  Sometimes, members of the family haven’t spoken to each other for years.  It can lead to tension, hurt feelings, and an overall negative experience.

But think for a moment, at this moment of Isaac’s death, his two sons were together.  When you consider everything that had happened over the years and how far apart at one time the two were from each other…this is a pretty big deal.  So how did they do it?  How did these two boys go from hating each other and warring, to a place of mutual respect and admiration that they could bury their father together…are you ready?…THE GRACE OF GOD.

Maybe today you look at your family and it isn’t the picture you had in your mind…ok.  You look at the problems and you feel alone…you are not.  There is good news – If God could bring this dysfunctional family together through His grace…there is nothing He cannot do for you!

So your family is dysfunctional….ADD IT TO THE LIST!  So your aunt is crazy and needs to be sent to the funny farm…WRITE DOWN THE STORIES, THEY MAY BE USEFUL IN A FEW YEARS!  So you have a COUSIN EDDIE in your family…WHO DOESN’T!  God gave you your family by His Grace and for His Glory…love them for who they are, they are the only family you get!

Held By Grace,

Pastor Chris