During the course of our series on “Family Matters”, I’ve focused on the biblical instructions for marriage, sex, home, and family. The instructions God has given us lead to the healthiest and happiest life as well as the healthiest and happiest marriages and families. Unfortunately, we all fall short of God’s perfect standard. Several have suggested that I’ve ignored the hurts and pains of the divorced; the single parents, and those with unbelieving spouses in the congregation. I’ve done more to cause them pain and frustration than to help. Presenting a clear picture of God’s plan sometimes arouses the pain in our hearts as to how far short we fall from that. This is true for me as well. I’m often insensitive to the situations around me and am always thankful when reminded to be more gracious. I try to do that. Being far from perfect myself, I see the instructions and rewards of living according to them as opportunities to enrich my personal life and family life by drawing deeper into God’s care and protection. My intention is that others will hear it this way also. However, I often get in the way of my own intentions and the purpose comes out skewed. Please forgive me if I’ve offended you!

Psalm 73 is written from the perspective of a sufferer who sees all around him rejoicing and celebrating and living life to the fullest. He dumps all his pain and frustration out on God in prayer and comes to a conclusion in the last verse of the Psalm. He says, “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge…” In this verse, 73:28, I hear the Psalmist giving me instructions on how to manage my failures and frustrations. The Psalmist gets as close to God as he can. A constant focus on how we should live and what we must do leads to nothing but frustration and failure followed by bitterness. But God is there for us. Actually, God is here for us! He sent his son to take care of this overwhelming painful problem in our lives. His Son sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter. We must always remember Hebrews 7:19. It says, “…for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” When we draw near to God, He will draw near to us! (I read that somewhere also!). We should face the hurts and pains in our life by deepening our relationship with God.

It’s interesting that in the Pentateuch only Moses drew near to God. He went into God’s presence and came back with a shining face. He carried with him the laws of God and presented them to the people. He rebuked the people, he confronted their sin, he instructed them in God’s way, and he laid down the law, so to speak. When I share from God’s Word, there is nothing about me that shines! Please don’t think I consider myself or my situation in any way superior or better off than yours. When I come across that way to you, please forgive me. It’s my flesh at work in me again. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. We all draw near to God in the same way. None of us shine more than others. All have sinned and fall short in many ways. Seeing the weaknesses and failures in my life and in my family life drives me back to the cross. The author of Hebrews gives me instructions on how to manage this as well. In Hebrews 4:16, he encourages all of us “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”