Godly Families have Problems Too

Today all over the world, there are a lot of families facing problems. Some of these are simply an aspect of living with life’s many challenges. For example, the Chamberlain family suffered a dreadful tragedy when their baby Azaria was taken by a dingo in 1980, and their life was never the same. Some problems are a result of the sin of individual family members, or the sins of others. When David sinned in relation to Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, God (through the prophet Nathan) told him that “…the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me…” (II Sam.12:10). Thus four of his sons died, three of them violently: Amnon (II Sam.13), Absalom (II Sam.18) and Adonijah (I Kings 2).

But not all of our problems are a result of sin. When Job was enduring his trials, his three “comforters” accused him of some dark practices that were bringing the judgments of God on him, but they were wrong. God rebuked them (Job 42:7-8), for they had much to learn about the dealings of God.

The Bible is a very matter-of-fact book. That’s because God is a very matter-of-fact God. When we read about Jesus’ family, we don’t read about a family that had no problems, because it had lots of them.

Problems began before Mary and Joseph were married. Mary was pregnant with Jesus, Joseph wasn’t the father and of course, they both knew it. Fortunately, they’d both had a divine visitation which made all the difference, but you can understand that there was a considerable amount of difficulty explaining just how the pregnancy came about, and the Pharisees later (Jn.8:19) liked to cast doubt on His legitimacy.

Mary and Joseph didn’t have it all their way when it was time to give birth. She was in a strange place, without a mid-wife (that we know of), with only Joseph to help, in a barn with animals.

Then they had an unexpected visit from an unknown bunch of shepherds, who wanted to see Jesus. Well, there He was in the feeding trough.

Soon after they went to Jerusalem, to carry out the custom of the law (Luke 3:27), and a fellow named Simeon approached them, took Jesus in his arms and began to pray, and blessed them. Joseph and Mary were “amazed.”

Then they had a visit from a number of wise men, who came into the house and saw Jesus with Mary, “and fell to the ground and worshipped Him” (Mat.2:11).

Almost immediately, Joseph had another dream and God warned him to flee to Egypt, for “Herod is going to search for the child to destroy Him” (Mat.2:13), so the three of them left quickly “while it was still night” (Mat.2:14) and went to Egypt. While they were in Egypt God gave him another dream, saying “go to the land of Israel” (Mat.2:20), but when they got there, God gave him yet another dream, and they came to the city of Nazareth. Well, they certainly learned how to engage in international travel at short notice, at God’s command.

Did Mary and Joseph think these problems were over? Well, they were about to find out some more things were in store. Later, they went up to Jerusalem, and when they were returning, “they supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey” (Luke 2:44). But no, the boy wasn’t there. When they finally found Him in the temple, His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You” (Luke 2:48). Yes, Jesus’ family had had some big ones, and he was only twelve: there were more.

When He began His ministry, the crowd once said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You” (Mk.3:32), but Jesus’ response was to look around at those sitting with Him and say, “Behold My mother and My brothers!” (Mk.3:34) He certainly had caused His family some challenges by now.

At the cross, Jesus saw Mary standing nearby, and called out to her, “Woman, behold your son!” “Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother’! From that hour the disciple took her into his own household” (Jn.19:26).

This was Jesus’ family. Without problems? Of course not! They’d faced a lot of problems, but overcome them all!

And the key to His family’s success will be the same as ours-His grace. He wants us to overcome our problems by obeying His Word, empowered by the same grace that empowered Him.

It can be done.

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