Summary: Family healing starts when we name the problems honestly. Things may get worse before they get better. but ultimately Christ will heal when we pray even in fractured faith.
Clifton Park Baptist Church, Silver Spring, MD, June 18, 2006
When there is a problem to be solved, we will do everything to solve it except the thing that works best. Have you noticed that? When something needs to be fixed, we will try all sorts of complicated approaches. But the simplest and most effective approach – that we don't want to try. And there's a reason.
The reason is we don't like to admit that we don't know how to do it. Usually, the simplest and most effective approach is to call in an expert, who really does know how to do the job. But we hate to look stupid, and so we don't call in the expert. We'd rather tinker with the problem ourselves and hope for the best.
A number of years ago the furnace in our house started doing crazy things. The thermostat would call for the furnace, we would hear the blower blowing and the gas hissing, but there would be no heat. Then maybe two minutes later there would be a terrific bang, and the furnace would start to heat. Well, I looked at it but, hey, it did start, didn't it, so, what's the hurry to do anything about it? The truth is, I didn't know what to do.
After that happened a couple more times, and after my wife complained rather forcefully, I decided that, yes, I would deal with that furnace. So I took it apart, I got the burners out, I gave them a good cleaning, and I put it all back together. I started it up, and, well, it wasn't perfect, but it wasn't as bad as it had been. So I closed it up and hoped for the best. I had hoped to deal with the problem all by myself. And almost got away with it. Almost. When I got home the next afternoon, I was greeted by one very upset wife and one scared little boy, my son, who had been near the furnace when it had decided to start, and who not only lost some hair, but also got scared out of his wits!
Wow! Care to guess what I did next? What is the phone number of the heating man? Who is the expert and how fast can he get here? I no longer cared about looking stupid, because my child's well-being was involved, and nothing takes precedence over that.
Our problem, in so many ways, and family life is no exception, is that when there is a problem to be solved, we will try everything to solve it except the thing that works best. We don't call in the expert, because we don’t want to look foolish. But our children and our families demand better of us that that.
One day there was a father whose child had a medical problem. The child's illness was out of control. He had a brain disorder that caused him to fall on the ground and foam at the mouth; it was terrible. And not only was it a tremendous physical challenge, it was a tough emotional battle, too, because people in that day thought that if you had a diseased child, it was your fault. They thought mom and dad were sinners, so God had cursed your child. So you can imagine how this father felt when he took his boy out in public. What if a seizure comes today? What will they think? Everybody will think it's my fault! This father had a problem. My guess is he’d carried it all by himself for a long time.
But he was about to discover the partnership of parental prayer. The partnership of parental prayer. He was about to see that in partnership, through prayer, with Jesus Christ, his son could be healed; and, more than that, he could be healed himself. In partnership with Christ, not only would the problem be handled by an expert, but the man who owned the problem would find good news for himself as well. The partnership of parental prayer.
If in our families there are issues and problems, the first lesson we must learn is that healing starts only when we name our problems openly and honestly. We open up a dynamic partnership with Jesus Christ only when we get real about what the issues are in our families.
One day this father decided that what mattered was his son. This father figured out that everything else was a distraction. He saw that he needed to stay with the main concern, getting his son healed. All around him were people who wanted to divert his attention, but he would learn to set everything aside and keep his eyes on the prize. He would remember that his son was the point of it all.