Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Perfect Family

From TroubledWith.com

Rushing off to work ... coming home weary... paying the bills ... raising the kids. It often seems like an endless cycle. But during the quiet moments, do you dare to be honest with yourself? Have you ever wondered, "Is this all there is to life? Is it merely a 70-year cycle of eating and sleeping, of getting and spending, of growing older and older?"

If your heart longs for something or someone that will give meaning to your existence, this article can help. The following takes a straightforward look at the things we value in this world and shows that there is much more.

There is a way to live that brings satisfaction at our innermost levels. You'll learn that nothing is more valuable than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And by joining God's family, we can have a first-class quality life — a winning life.

It had been nearly two years, but in just minutes he'd be back, and he wondered what it would be like. He had written ahead — they knew he was coming. In his memory, he heard the squeak of Dad's chair, the metal clang of spoon and pan in the kitchen, the crackle and thump as a log slipped in the fireplace. He could almost smell the sweet aroma of dinner nearly done. Then Mom would call, and everyone would scramble to the table.

It was good then. He belonged. But now?

Tom's sigh broke the daydream as he turned into the lane. Familiar sights and sounds engulfed him. Ten strides ... three stairs ... warped wooden porch floor stretching to the white clapboard walls ... and the creaky swing.

He rang the bell. The door swung open, and loving arms pulled him in and close. Then with his tears soaking into her white sweater, from beneath gray hair and wrinkled brow came the words he longed to hear. "Welcome home, Son, welcome home!"

All people long for a place where they are welcome, accepted, loved. Where they don't have to pretend or be on their guard. Where just being there is a cause for celebration. Warm, relaxing, open — that's home. Or at least that's the Norman Rockwell portrayal of it.

Less than perfect

But not all homecomings evoke such memories. And while coming home often brings high expectations, it rarely lives up to its advertising. Cousin Cheryl is late and the turkey dries out. Nephew Norbert gets violently ill at the table. Uncle Arthur and Brother Bob argue about foreign policy. A giant dustball rolls out from under the sofa at Aunt Agatha's feet, and Sister Samantha points out to Mom that her children are more polite than yours.

Much worse, of course, are homes that do not provide the loving support they should. A frightened boy listens from beneath his bedcovers as the shouting of his angry parents shatters the night air. A young girl dreads the end of the school day because Mom will almost certainly be drunk again. A soldier or prisoner fears that during his absence his wife has been unfaithful and will not take him back. A single mother tries to shut out the department store Christmas music this first December since her divorce and her mother's death. And a bag lady has no place, not even a hotel room, to call home.

When home does not live up to our dreams or expectations, we grow restless. We long for relationships, connections, continuity, understanding, communication — things we imagine people had in abundance a hundred years ago before big corporations, automobiles and housing developments made it easy for extended families to fragment and scatter across the country. We feel isolated and alone.

A long way from home

We may be lonely, but we are not alone. A lot of people today feel far from home. Perhaps they are divorced or widowed. Maybe they live hundreds of miles from their parents, siblings and cousins. Even if they love their families dearly, they are often so busy working, commuting and running errands that they have little time to spend with the people closest to them. They long for home and family, a place to be and become. But the kind of home they crave seems as improbable as a 1945 Saturday Evening Post cover.

It's harsh, but true: Nobody ever finds, inherits or lives in a perfect home where the people always listen to and understand each other, take care of each other, or even like each other. And yet most of us keep looking for just that — a place where we are appreciated, where we can be comfortable, where we can be truly ourselves.

Are we doomed to a lifetime of searching without finding? Must we become disillusioned and cynical? Or are we perhaps, in the words of the song, "looking for love in all the wrong places"?

Restless hearts

More than 1,500 years ago, St. Augustine diagnosed the situation of many searching people. He knew from personal experience what it meant to be far from family, to try — and fail — to find love in a chain of short relationships, to feel as if nobody really cared. Speaking to God, he said, "You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You."

If St. Augustine was right, our unfulfilled longings might not be satisfied even if we were able to stage a whole succession of perfect homecomings, flawless Thanksgiving dinners and harmonious family reunions. As wonderful as home can be, even the best of homes cannot bring peace to our restless hearts. Always we need something deeper and broader than the love of a father or mother, brother or sister, husband or wife.

We would like to have parents, siblings and spouses who are always there for us and who are able to meet all our needs: provide for us, listen to us, care for us, counsel us, discipline us, protect us and enjoy us. We'd like these "superpersons" to know us inside and out, to love us all the same, to give to us generously and to keep all their promises. We don't want these people to ever grow old or get sick or die. We want them to share our experiences, stick up for us, teach us what they know and never say "I told you so. "

Impossible? It sounds like it. But God has all these characteristics. What is more, He strongly desires to make all people part of His family — a family that will one day be perfect and last forever.

The ideal Father

Let's back up for a minute. To understand God's invitation to join His family, it's important to know who God is. The Bible paints this picture of Him:

In many ways, God is like an excellent human father. He loves His children and is pleased when they love Him in return. He provides for them and protects them. He gives guidance and, when necessary, punishment. He understands their limitations, though, and is quick to forgive. Above all, He is generous (the Bible calls His generosity grace).

In other ways, God is far greater than any human father could ever be. For one thing, He is all powerful. Nothing can keep Him from helping His children. For another, He is all-loving. In God there is no selfishness or pride to interfere with His relationship with His children. God is also all-knowing, so His guidance is completely worthy of trust. Since God is present everywhere at once, His children never have to strike out on their own, and since He is eternal, they never fear being abandoned.

The ideal family

Homecoming can be a joyous time, even if the pumpkin pie crust is soggy and Great-Uncle Herbert has forgotten his table manners. But no earthly homecoming, no matter how memorable, can compare with the joy of coming home to God.

God's love, after all, is the source of all earthly love. It is stronger and more enduring than love between husband and wife, parent and child, brothers and sisters. At the same time, God's love strengthens our human ties and increases our love for those dear to us.

This article explains why all human beings need God's love. It explains how to respond to His invitation and become part of His family. But there is one thing it cannot do: It cannot say "yes" to God for you.

If your heart is restless; if you find yourself longing for a home you've never known; if you would like eternal life with Jesus that begins now and continues in heaven where there is no suffering, sin, or death — say yes to Jesus. Join the family. Come home.

There's no better time than now.

Find Article here: http://www.troubledwith.com/LifePressures/A000000801.cfm?topic=life%20pressures%3a%20spiritual%20struggles

1 comment:

Temi said...

A call to all who labor and are heavy laden. It is in Christ alone that we find rest and fulfiment. No such can be found in the arm of flesh.