Saturday, 25 May 2013

Care for the Family

How very important when a family member or spouse is suffering from cancer and undergoing the treatment for this disease that they are given every support they need. It is incumbent upon husbands, for example, to be there for their wives at all times. The sheer level of emotional support they require is incalculable, and they will depend greatly on their husband to provide that support.
Just as “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen.2:18), so also it is not good for the wife to be alone, especially when she has been traumatised by news of serious illness, or whatever the specific situation might be. Similarly, children, regardless of their ages, need the support that only father can give; and they must not be deprived of that. What dereliction of responsibility that would be if the husband and father were to neglect this parental and matrimonial duty and responsibility. 
I sometimes wonder if husbands are aware of the deep emotional and spiritual needs of their wives and families at a time of trauma. Perhaps the husband is so caught up with his own situation that he gives precious little thought to how his wife and family are feeling, or even coping with the situation. Yet he can spend more time with others whose needs are not ass great. This is a Christian duty that has great potential for spiritual benefits for all concerned.
I heard of a Christian husband whose wife has cancer, and is not handling it very well, going off on his sporting activities when he would have been better to have stayed with her. I know that when the time is right, carers need a break from their responsibilities and to re-charge their emotional and spiritual batteries again. But in the early days of cancer or whatever caused the trauma, is essentially a traumatic situation, and his place is with his wife and family.
When a husband undertakes at his marriage to “love his wife” and to do so “in sickness and in health,” (that is, in good times and in bad) when she suffers (from cancer), it is his privilege as well as his duty to fulfil this vow in the most practical of ways. To demonstrate his love for her at such a time is a great witness to the love of Christ for His church (Eph.5:25). For her to be abandoned in such circumstances is nothing short of criminal. She needs him, and he must be there for her and for the children.
I remember reading about what Prof. E. M. Blaiklock did in order to make up for the time he hadn’t spent with his son who had become most wayward in his living; he took many months off just to spend quality time with him. He placed his parental responsibilities before even his academic career. 
When trauma strikes, it hits the whole family; no one escapes, regardless of who is the primary sufferer. Trauma can be a lonely and isolating experience. But God has set the solitary in families (Ps.68:6), for it is not good that men or women or children should be alone.
Cherish your family; value who and what they are; appreciate them because they hurt, too. And they also need your nearness. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

God Answers Prayer

How encouraging it is to know that our prayers are not ineffective, though we might not always realise this. Parents pray earnestly for the conversion of their children, and God answers their prayers, one now and one at another time. But He is faithful, and will keep His covenant promises made to parents concerning the salvation of their children.

Sometimes we can despair that our offspring, whatever their age, do not place themselves under the means of grace; for example, they refuse to attend church and they dislike the preaching of the Gospel. But do not despair. For our great almighty Redeemer God, these are not essential, though very desirable. “God is spirit” (Jn.4:24), remember. That means that He is invisible so He can creep up on unsuspecting sinners and reduce them to tearful repentance, bringing them to saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

So do not despair. God is sovereign, and we must always hold out the certainty that he will act to bring our children to saving faith in Christ in His time and in His way. We can tend to get all caught up about formal religion, but to no good purpose. Let God be God, and He will yet surprise us.

This is our conviction. Having one son unsaved is a grave burden to both of us. We long, as you do, for the salvation of all your family members, and whilst they are commanded in Scripture to repent and believe the Gospel, their current rebellion does not rule God out of the picture. We were all rebellious sinners once, but that did not prevent the gracious Lord dealing with us in mercy. And when you consider the end of those who die without Christ, the thought is utterly distressing. Hence, believing prayer to the Lord Who can break into such situations is our great hope and consolation. All Christian parents hope and trust that their children will all be in the Kingdom of God before they leave this scene of time.

So pray on for the salvation of your own families. Plead with the Lord to save them, bringing all the arguments you can think about in your prayer. Remember as you pray that Christ loves them with an everlasting love, and died for them. He has purchased redemption for them and all they have to do to make it their own is to humbly receive it. There is nothing more for them to do, and what we are to do is to bring them before the Lord in prayer continually. And He hears and answers prayer. And when the urge to pray comes, stop everything (if possible) and pray because this is the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

Let me encourage you. God has answered your prayers for Margaret and me in the most tangible of ways; in fact, the evidence is there to see. If God answers your prayers for Margaret, then be confident that He will answer your prayers for your children and other loved-ones. So, as C. H. Spurgeon once said, “Pray, and let God do the worrying.”