Foundation of Faith
Modeling Christ as a Family in Tough Times
by David Melville
I want to brag a little bit about my family but not for the usual reasons. My wife Melanie, four grown children, and their spouses have made me so proud with their academic, financial, vocational and non-vocational accomplishments. In an article like this, limited in length, you’ll have to take my word for it when I say they are very bright, talented, driven and responsible. I am blessed.
But in this issue of the magazine centering upon family, I want to talk about something more important than my family’s successes: I want to talk about the bad times. Those times are when each member has shown his or her true colors and character. It has been during the difficult days that my family has modeled what is most important. Only when your family has been tested will a parent or pastor be able to say how your family – or how you hope your family – will be a family.
Even with success, we have had stress. We have known periods of estrangement, experienced arguments and felt death’s sting. We have dealt with decisions regarding separation, divorce, abortion and debt. Each of us has made mistakes and each of us has hurt or disappointed one another at some point in time. And I am not proclaiming that we have always made the right individual or collective decisions, or rendered the right reactions to complex circumstances. Families are complicated!
I have been both parentally and pastorally proud that thus far I have watched love, support, forgiveness, kindness and patience prevail in the end. In the good times we can only assume or hope for such an outcome. But it is during the tough times that we will find out about such gifts of grace.
Any success we have achieved in the areas mentioned above can only be attributed to the miracles and mystery of prayer, and to the fact that each family member has had some form of spiritual foundation to undergird and instruct them in the worst of times. We are not perfect Christians, but from April 21, 1973 – when this particular family was started – onward, God has been known and could be turned to. We have been our best selves during the tough times, when we turned to the Lord. So in the end, I brag about Him and not about us.
My prayers are for you and for your family during the bad times, more so than the good times. Without the former, you likely won’t experience the latter. When we were at our lowest we learned that, through God, all things are possible.