Strong Marriage = Secure Kids
So much has been said and written on the value of having a strong marriage. My wife and I have read many books by authors such as James Dobson, Bill Hybels, Gary Smalley and Dennis Rainey on the subject and have used their wisdom to build and strengthen our marriage. I’m not going to even try to reiterate those relationship principles here.
The point I do want to make in this chapter is that if we really want a chance at creating a culture in our home that is stronger than the culture of the world, we have to pay attention to the health of our marriage relationship. The culture of a home emanates from the relationship between husband and wife (for children, that’s Mom and Dad). You can’t pretend that loving your kids and being committed to them is the only thing that creates the culture. It’s actually your relationship with your spouse that brings stability, confidence and wholeness to the home.
With so many divorces happening in our culture, it’s not uncommon for young people, even our own children, to wonder if divorce is going to attack their home. Are Mommy and Daddy always going to stay together? This anxiety is breeding insecurity in children. If there are fights or disagreements, or if the D-word is ever used in a discussion or in a burst of anger, it only perpetuates this fear. The security that every child needs is not created just by saying, “Your mother and I will never get a divorce.” The wholesomeness of a great romance and friendship (showing that you like as well as love each other) makes your kids feel safe and gives them confidence that their home will be stable and secure.
It’s clear that children need both parents to have the healthiest upbringing. I know that there are many single-parent families doing a valiant job at making things work in spite of the bad situation they’ve found themselves in. The data is irrefutable on how little boys and girls need their daddy around. It takes a man and a woman to lead a family.
Consider the following:
- 71 percent of pregnant teenagers lack a father.
- 90 percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
- 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
- 71 percent of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
Steps to a Healthy Relationship
In the following section, I’m going to give you some relevant tips that Katie and I have found to be critical to the success of our home.
Spend Time Together
After the new wears off of a marriage relationship, it’s easy to start taking each other for granted. You stop pursuing each other. You get focused on all the busyness of raising children—getting them to do their homework, taking them to sports practices, games and other lessons and rehearsals. There is really no time left for each other. Nevertheless, husbands and wives need to prioritize their relationship in such a way that they make time for each other.
One of the things that Katie and I have done for years is have a weekly date night. We also learned very early in our relationship about having “couch time” every day. After I got home and said hi to the kids and loved on them, Katie and I would sit down and talk about how the day went, and so forth. The kids would see us spending time with each other even though they wanted our attention. They saw that we gave top priority to our relationship with each other.
It’s important for children to see that they are not the center of your universe. If they are the center of your universe (which is common thinking of parenting romanticized), they control your world. They get you to do anything they want.
“What?! My spouse is more important than my kids?” It might sound harsh or heartless, but the fact is, kids feel secure when they see a team of a mom and a dad who love each other and are committed to each other. The kids feel fine being priority number two.
Show a United Front with the Kids
There are many decisions that the two of you will disagree on. Katie and I made a decision early on that when we had kids, we would never disagree in front of them. As far as our kids were concerned, we were always in agreement with each other. If we needed to talk about something, we would talk apart from the kids.
A united front makes it almost impossible for kids to play Mom against Dad. If a child knows that Mom is okay with a decision, but Dad is not, the child can work the system. This united front commitment also allowed us to work things out in private, especially if it required some difficult and serious dialogue.
Never verbalize disagreements in front of your kids. Even if you are the one who acquiesces and does not get your way, you still win, because as a team, you are both deciding to go the same direction.
Stand Up for and Support Each Other
Katie and I made a commitment that we would always be each other’s greatest advocate. If my kids were saying something they didn’t like about Mom, even if I agreed with what they might be saying, I stood up for her. I might say something like, “I know she has wisdom, and God gave her to you, and we are going to honor her.” We always made each other look good for our kids.
Some small-minded moms and dads give in to the temptation to be liked. Even if they are not fueling their kids’ grumbling, they are allowing derogatory words about the other parent to go unchallenged from the mouth of their teens. There is no advantage to the child feeling like one of you is the favorite parent.
Even in a divorce situation, with kids going back and forth between homes, there is no advantage to making the former spouse look bad. That person helped bring your child into the world. It’s your responsibility to make your child’s other parent look as wholesome as possible in the midst of a very difficult situation. Making yourself look better only benefits you, not the kids.
Do More Than Tolerate Your Spouse
Some have given in to the delusion of believing, “I will just put up with my spouse. I don’t really like him (or her); but because I love my kids, we’re staying together.” While it sounds noble, if you really loved your kids, you would love your spouse too. You would work things out and humble yourself, and you and your spouse would listen to each other and let God help you win each other’s heart back.
The best thing that you can do for your kids is to love your spouse with all your heart. Your children can sense whether there is wholesome, fervent, committed love in the home. You can say that you are staying together for the sake of the kids, but in reality, that’s just a recipe for disaster. Every day there are stories of parents whose divorce, after their kids turned 18, 19, 20, 25, absolutely destroyed their children because they realized the delusion of their family life for all those years. Don’t just endure for the sake of the kids; deal with the real issues and go to counseling if you need it. Ask God to draw your hearts toward each other once again.
Agree On Parenting Habits
Before Katie and I started having kids, we read books on how to parent. We both had come from divorced homes and did not have the best wisdom on how to raise kids. We sought people who were wiser than us. And there are plenty of them around.
Before you have children, develop a philosophy for parenting that you both agree on. This needs to include the issue of discipline—deciding on the behaviors that require consequences, and why. This is one of the reasons why two parents in a family are so important. As you are deciding how to parent and how to discipline, and what values you want to pour into your children, there are going to be times when one of you will be totally and completely exasperated. Your child has spun you in a web of his or her logic, and you feel helpless and frustrated. That is when your spouse can come in and help make sense of the situation. He or she is able to be a sounding board for you. You are a refuge for each other
so that you can lead from a position of strength. Whoever is spun in the web is going to have blinders on, at best. The other parent offers a different perspective. Together you can confidently make decisions to move forward and resolve the issue with your child.
Moral Authority to Lead Your Family
The way you conduct your relationship with your spouse adds or detracts from your moral authority with your family. When you look at your kids and say, “This is the way I want us to live,” is that standard reflected in your life? Do your kids see it lived in your relationship with your spouse? Do they see you reflecting the standard as an individual? If you scream or cuss at each other, why should your kids allow you to speak into their lives? You want to shape them with good values, critique their conduct and impart wisdom, and yet they see a problem with the way you live. Why would they want to embrace the values you are espousing? We would all like to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” But that is exactly what Jesus said about the Pharisees. The truth is, children look to us and do what we do much more than they do what we say. As the saying goes, “More is caught than taught.”
What if you are from a divorced and/or blended family? How do you discipline the kids from your spouse’s first marriage? How do you make sure there is wisdom being used between the biological parent and the stepparent? If you’re struggling with these issues, I encourage you to read one of the books listed here:
- Blended Families: Creating Harmony as You Build a New Home Life by Maxine Marsolini
- The Smart Step-Family by Ron L. Deal
- Winning the Heart of Your Stepchild by Dr. Bob Barnes
It’s the biological parent who needs to do most of the disciplining of his or her children in a mixed family situation. You don’t ever want to put the stepchild in a position where he or she would say, “You are not my real parent; you can’t say that to me.” In fact, if there is a stepfather, much of the discipline might have to come through the mother. Even though Scripture says the man is the head of the home, you have a different situation. The stepfather can support the mom, but to keep from dividing the family further and living in a hellacious world, the biological parent should always do the disciplining and the correcting.
One last word of encouragement to husbands: When your children see that you love your wife and are pursuing her, it provides an example for your sons of what a wholesome love looks like so that they will see a glaring difference in what the world calls love. Your little girls will see what a wholesome romantic love looks like so that they are not enticed and lured by guys who tell them they are pretty and that they love them, just so they can use them. There are so many intangibles created by a strong marriage. It builds security in the hearts of young people and helps them make decisions not out of fear but in response to the examples their parents show of a wholesome, thriving romance that makes them want to have the same.
To raise kids effectively, there is a lot of coaching, mentoring, rebuking and disciplining involved. If, in the middle of trying to discipline your child, you are constantly dealing with a battle between you and your spouse as well, you are not going to have near the effectiveness of shaping your young people that you could have. Much of what you say will be disregarded, because it doesn’t line up with the way you are living. A solid, thriving marriage relationship builds a culture of trust and confidence so that you can pour your values into your children and they will receive your teaching, because they see the benefits in your own marriage.
What to Do if your Teen is Drinking and Partying
You have discovered that your young person has been drinking alcohol. It started by going to a few parties with their friends. You thought they would never drink – but they did. They may just be getting drunk once in a while, or they may have a real drinking problem.
Seventy-nine percent of students say it is easy to get alcohol. Seventy-seven percent say alcohol is common at parties. Forty-one percent say some friends have a problem with alcohol, and 22% have ridden in a car with someone who has been drinking.
Before you fly off the handle and destroy the possibility of a relationship with your young person, take a deep breath. Realize they are still the same person on the inside as they were before they began drinking. They are still your child. And they will remember the way you respond to this crisis for the rest of their life.
What exactly should you do? Most importantly, think through how to approach the situation and really talk about it with your young person. You don’t want to come off as a parent who just says, “Don’t do it again,” and that’s all you have to say. There is more going on in their life and their mind that has pushed them to this level.
Ask yourself this question, “How much have I really taught them about drinking – the physical dangers and the emotional effects?” It is easy for parents simply to tell their young person not to drink; but it is another thing to teach them why they shouldn’t based upon principles rather than just because you said so.
While expressing fact that, although you do not approve of or like their behavior, you still love and appreciate them, it is important they understand both are very true. Just because you did not like their behavior does not mean you do not like them. It seems like a small distinction to us, but it is a huge one to a young person. Jesus did things like that all the time, as with the woman who was caught in adultery. He did not condemn her or cut her down, but at the same time He was very clear. He told her, “Go and sin no more.” [See John 8:11]
Think about the disciplinary measures you need to implement. Don’t just say, “Don’t do that again.” If they are going against your wishes in doing this, there ought to be a price to pay, like doing chores, giving up privileges, restricting phone calls, etc. Tell them drinking is wrong and you do not want them doing it, but back it up with consequences that will make them think. Do not discipline out of anger! But think about what will make your young person feel the sting of having done the wrong thing.
Educate your teen by sharing the following:
According to research, in 1993 an average of 14,000 Americans per hour got behind the wheel after drinking too much. Alcohol related crash deaths totaled to more than 17,000 in 1995. One of every 12 instances involved an underage drinker.
The Bible says in Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” The Bible plainly tells us that if you drink, you are going to be mocked. You are going to do stupid things – things that you may not remember and will likely regret.
Wine is a mocker. Ultimately, the very alcohol you drink will end up mocking and laughing in your face because it destroyed your life. You become a slave it. Romans 6:16 says “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
If you choose to obey and submit yourself to alcohol, you are no longer a slave to the Lord. You are no longer master of your own destiny. You have become the slave of the fermented grape. Drinking may seem like the tough, cool thing to do, but ultimately you degenerate as a human being.
Discuss object lessons as you drive by bars or walk by alcohol in the store. Say things like, “There are people in there right now who are hurting and broken, not knowing that the real answer is to give their lives to God. There are people in there who could have been doctors, lawyers, authors, or inventors, but they flushed their potential down the toilet of alcohol.”
Develop this process of teaching, training, and constantly expounding on the craziness and foolishness of using alcohol, and it will help your teen develop their own conviction. They will get to where they are no longer refraining from it only because you asked them to, but because they see it will wreck their life.
How to Keep Your Teen On Fire for Jesus
Your teen just came back from camp, a conference, or an Acquire The Fire youth conference and they can’t stop talking about what God did in their lives. Now you pray that it stays that way.
What can you do to help? Maybe you are thinking, “I wonder how long it will last this time. I saw them get fired up like this before, but it died out after a few weeks.”
Most parents, not feeling very gifted as “youth ministers,” get discouraged thinking they really cannot do anything to help keep their young
person’s fire burning. This is simply not true.
In a recent Gallup poll, 93% of the young people interviewed said they believe God loves them; 2% said they don’t believe it; 2% said they don’t believe in God; and 3% were unsure. 86% believed that Jesus was a God or the Son of God.; 6% believed that Jesus Christ was just another religious leader; 3% believed that Jesus never actually lived; and 5% were not sure.
86% of born again Christians agree with the statement, “the bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves,” 49% of Christians agree, “the devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil,” and 39% of born-again Christians believe “if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in heaven.” No wonder many young people have trouble maintaining their fire – they have been presented with unclear picture of true Christianity.
Listen to what some teens have said:
“It is hard to stay on fire when my parents say one thing and then do another. Their actions don’t follow their words.”
“Many Christians I know are self-righteous and they are always right. I am losing interest in Christianity because most Christians I’ve met show more hatred than love.”
“I need more encouragement, discipline, and accountability from my parents – particularly from my dad.”
“I always feel like I’m doing something wrong in my walk with God. I wish my parents would encourage me more.”
What can you do?
Embrace your teen’s excitement. Many parents patronize their young person. “Yeah, yeah, yeah I remember when I was that fired up.” They think it’s simply another passing teenage fad.
Instead of patronizing your young person and playing down their new-found passion and love for Christ, embrace them and their fire.
Ask some questions about what God did in their life. What specific things can you pray for? What are they going to do differently to make sure their fire does not die? What can you as a parent do to help them maintain their fire? They may have some good suggestions for you. Ask them what decisions they made during the camp or conference that they want to be held accountable to. Ask them what makes it different this time compared to any other time before.
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11
Keep your fire burning for God. Simply stated, do not keep a spiritual “air” about you without being truly spiritual. If there are areas of your walk with the Lord that are shallow or empty, deal with them. If you need to ask for someone’s forgiveness and repent – then do it!
Sometimes when we see our young person get on fire, we get a little intimidated by it. We think “What can they teach me that I haven’t
already learned?” and we become guilty of sitting in the back of the church, acting like we’ve heard it before.
A wise person can learn from anyone. We need to realize we can learn from our teen instead of letting their fervor and passion intimidate you. Let it push you to deeper levels of humility and intimacy with God, and more passionate times of mediating and reading His Word.
When you have a genuine fire burning passionately for the God, your teen cannot help but be affected. When your relationship with God becomes stale, your young person’s heart will grow hard.
Start having honest discussions with your teen regarding your Christian life. Do not try to be pseudo-spiritual which your teen will interpret as fake, but seek God with more fervor than you ever have.
If your young person is going after God with all they’ve got, you have to go after Him even harder to provide true spiritual leadership for them. As you share with them your prayer concerns, your struggles, and your victories in your walk with the Lord, your young person will do the same with you. You will be on the road of a discipling relationship with your teen. But do not assume that now that they are on fire for God, they will stay that that way forever. The fire must continually be fanned and encouraged in order for it to be kept burning.
In the process of establishing this dialogue, let there be some mutual accountability. Ask your teen to hold you accountable to having quiet times or to dealing with certain areas of your life; not so they can throw it in your face later, but so you can show a little trust and respect. Then ask them, “What can I pray for you about? What are some areas you are being challenged in that you want to God to help you get through?”
When most people who get the fire of God in their life start losing it, they don’t want anyone to know, so they cover it up in the darkness. But when the light comes in, it reveals the darkness for what it is. If you show the darkness for what it is before it becomes a problem, the darkness has no opportunity to become a stronghold. Being accountable to one another will take the friendship intimacy factor to a whole new level in your relationship with your young person.
A fallacy many parents buy into is thinking we need to keep our young person on that spiritual mountaintop . We want them to stay on there forever and ever and hope it never goes away. First of all, you cannot just hope – you must do something to keep the fire burning. Do not presume they will stay on fire forever by accident.
Also, it is helpful to know we were not meant to stay on the mountaintop. What do I mean? Look at the story of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Jesus went up there to pray and have His quiet time, not necessarily to get transfigured.
“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed.” Luke 9:28-29
When Jesus was praying on the mountaintop, the presence of God appeared. Moses and Elijah were there having a conversation with him. The disciples got so freaked out, they said, “Lord, Lord, do you want us to build a house for the three of you so you can stay around?” This is what happens when we encounter God – we want to institutionalize it. We want to remember that encounter forever and ever and hope it will never end.
“A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is the Son whom I have chosen; listen to him.’” Luke 9:35
In other words, “Quit talking, man! Check out what is going on”
In visiting the Mount of Transfiguration years ago, I discovered that since that moment in the Bible, Christians have gone up there and built a church for Jesus with two rooms – one for Moses and one for Elijah. It is not surprising, since we’ve been doing that same thing in Christianity for years. We have built whole churches and entire denominations on one experience with God.
There is not supposed to just be a mountaintop. We are supposed to go back again and again into the presence of God. We are not supposed to hope our young person stays on that mountain, but that they get taken to the next mountain.
What’s the next challenge in their life? What’s the next area God wants them to grow in? Maybe it’s going on a mission trip. Maybe it’s doing ministry in the inner city. Maybe there are areas of their character God wants to refine. Ask the question, “Why did He give you that fire and what is the next mountain God wants you to climb?”
Help your teen find what the next mountain is. Help them define the next step in their spiritual journey. They need to feel there is someone helping and guiding them. You cannot just depend on your pastor and youth pastor. Be the spiritual leader of your home! Help your young person see that they have the fire for a reason. God wants to do something in them and through them.
When they see there is another mountain to climb, they’ll throw their passion and fervor into climbing that next mountain, not just trying to keep the fire they have. In going up that next mountain, their fire will build and become stable and strong.
Hannah Is in Dallas
I wanted to quickly share with you the latest on Hannah’s recovery. On Monday, I traveled with with her on a medical transport flight from Kansas City to Dallas. We had to fly between several thunder storms, so that made it an interesting adventure. We landed and checked her into the Parkland Hospital burn center, and she has begun the rehabilitation process.
Hannah is still in much pain, but not as much as before. We are expecting her to be in rehab in Dallas for several weeks before coming home, where she’ll continue out-patient rehab.
If you would like to send a letter of encouragement or card to Hannah, the updated address for the hospital is below:
Zale Lipshy Hospital
5151 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75390
Dallas ATF Highlights
Youth Conference Highlight Testimonies
you know you love God, but I wanted to know like why am I really doing this and what is really like my zeal for? -Teen
This weekend I am looking for just a change in life to go deeper in God and just experience Him to the fullest I can. -Teen
Father my prayer is that you would grab the hearts of this generation. God my prayer is that you would unify this generation beyond denomination, beyond background, beyond culture. Let them get serious about the deep things of God. -John Gray
With my mom and her relationships it’s been times where her relationships never work out she has always been done wrong by guys and it feels like I am the same way I am looking at the wrong places for love and I am turning to girls and stuff and I keep getting rejected by that.
Sending Cards to Hannah
Hannah has been so encouraged by all of the letters and cards she’s received from individuals over the past three weeks. Now that she’s moved to a rehab/hospital in Dallas, I’d like to share the address with you if you would like to send a letter of encouragement or card to her there. It makes a big difference for her, and we all appreciate it so very much!
Zale Lipshy Hospital
5151 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75390
Today Show Feature on Hannah’s Recovery
Hannah was featured in this story on the Today Show (NBC) yesterday. We are so grateful to the Lord for her recovery, and even more so for the lives of Austin, Garrett, Stephen and Luke so passionately committed to cause of Christ!
Sole plane crash survivor leaving hospital
Ron Luce, father of Hannah Luce, the sole survivor of a May 11 plane crash in Kansas, says Hannah’s pain is getting “more tolerable.” She will be heading home to Texas to continue recovering at a Dallas rehab center. TODAY’s Natalie Morales reports.
Memorializing a Meeting and a Miracle
This is a picture of what we found in the middle the middle-of-nowhere, Kansas, a few miles outside of the small town of Chanute. This is what you would personally see, were you to make the drive to this lonely little place in the heartland of America – the scarred field that is the site of the plane crash that ended the lives of four young men who were passionately committed to the gospel, and the site of the very miraculous of saving of my daughter Hannah’s life.
A few days ago, my son and I traveled to Chanute on a quest to discover more of what took place on May 11, 2012. We were met in town by one of the two young ladies who first found Hannah and Austin as they stumbled out of the wreckage and made their way onto the gravel road that runs near the field. She was going to take my son and me out to the site of the crash.
We were already 10 miles out of town on a small country road when we turned off onto an even more inconspicuous road. She told us how she and her friend were traveling along the little country road that afternoon and thought they saw some smoke. They began to question what it could possibly be — a farmer burning his field? Someone burning an old rubbish pile? One of the women reasoned that, with the size of the plume of smoke, it must be some sort of gasoline that ignited. This prompted them to turn down the gravel road that we were now driving on to investigate. After about a mile, they found Hannah and Austin wandering in the roadway, looking for help.
The woman took us to the place where Hannah and Austin must have come on to the road. We got out of our car and started to trek off into the adjacent field. No more than 100 yards in, we found exactly what you see here in this picture. Someone had already been here and set up a small memorial at the crash site. It was a stunning and stark moment for us.
This location, an otherwise entirely forgettable place, has now become the focal point of our lives. This place where three young men met God face-to-face and the fourth, Austin, did soon thereafter. This place, the location of an utter miracle as Hannah was saved from what would have otherwise been her own destruction.
It made me think about all of those places in the Bible where other people met God, places where God performed miracles. He never wanted them to forget those locations.
Remember how God told the Israelites, after He led them through the middle of the Red Sea on dry land, to build a monument to this place so every time they came by it again, they never would forget the miracle He performed there. Another example is the night Jacob wrestled with God. God told him afterward to build a monument so he would never forget what happened in that place where he met God.
And so here, in Kansas, we have a memorial to a miracle, and a memorial to meeting God.
It made me review in my mind those places in my life where I met God. Once was at camp, another time at a friend’s house.
This might be an occasion for all of us to think about, “When did I really meet God?” What was the physical location and what was your state of mind? Or what about the place where you had some of the biggest miracles take place in your life, where you know God had done something on your behalf?
That place could be just as seemingly insignificant as a field in Kansas, but the testimony of those who perished in the tragedy of that field caught the attention of the world. More than 1,000 news organizations have reported this story, and the testimony of these five lives has been broadcast around the world.
I pray that, as you consider those places and moments where God met with you, where he stepped in and miraculously rescued you, you would honor those places in your heart and make a vow to live your life just as courageously, just as sold-out for the gospel, as those who met God face-to-face in that field.
Hannah is Walking!
I want to thank you all so much for praying! As we have heard from people praying from all around the world for Hannah’s recovery, she continues to be in the burn center of the KU Medical Center in Kansas City and is making significant progress. She’s still in quite a bit of pain, but she is beginning to use her limbs more. In fact, just yesterday she walked all the way to the visitors area and back without a walker, which is the first time she’s walked over the last three weeks.
Hannah continues to be encouraged by the many cards, letters, and gifts sent from all over. Even small gestures of generosity have moved Hannah deeply. Children have written her get-well letters, with their creative touch on them. Others who’ve been through similar traumas have written letters of encouragement, saying they’re praying for her.
In fact Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas called to encourage Hannah the other today. He said that, as he was passing through Chanute, KS the other day, people were still talking about the accident. Gov. Brownback listened to Hannah’s story and then prayed for her, and that really lifted her spirit.
We believe that today will be the first chance she’ll get to go outside for the first time in three weeks. She’s really looking forward to that. Her skin is tender and painful, and still is growing back. She has to work out regarding the functioning of her muscles, which, for all intents and purposes, have not been used in the last three weeks.
We anticipate moving Hannah Monday morning down to a hospital/rehab center in Dallas, Texas. As kind as all the people are in Kansas, I think we’re ready to get back to our home state.
Is the Church Really a Hospital?
Having spent the last two-and-a-half weeks almost completely living in the hospital where Hannah is being treated, I’ve been immersed in a whole new world. Whether it’s sleeping by Hannah’s bedside in the ICU night after night, or walking the halls and corridors of this incredible place, one thing has become glaringly apparent: Hospitals are full of hurting people.
We all know that people get injured, but when you’re living in hospital for several weeks of time, you begin to realize it’s a massive epidemic. People are in wheelchairs. They are young — some just children. Some are older. Some walk with a limp. Others have bandages. Some are rushing into the Emergency Room with obvious wounds. Some have just come out of surgery and are being wheeled down the hallway with multiple contraptions attached to them. Some have been there for years it appears, getting ongoing treatments.
It is interesting how hospitals attract hurting people. People realize they need help, know that something’s broken, and they cannot fix it by themselves. People are hurting everywhere. People are injured. People have got diseases. People have emergencies. And they all come to this central place. I wonder if we could put our glasses on, as it were, and see what all of humanity is going through, if they would all be in just as bad shape physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
I wonder, if we could see through God’s eyes, would many of those we come into contact with every day look like they’re wandering the halls of a hospital, looking for a physician or someone who can give them some kind of help? I wonder, if our churches were really perceived as a place of healing, would these hurting people be streaming into our doors every week?
I wonder if many of them are already walking in our doors? We see them as “visitors” when really they’re checking to see if the Physician can help them.
I’m also amazed at all the people employed by hospitals who make them run. Of course there are innumerable medical employees – doctors of every sort, surgeons, specialists, nurses. There are counselors and psychiatrists, too, and people who specialize in wrapping people’s wounds and helping them manage pain.
They all sort of look the same. They all are either wearing scrubs or some kind of a white coat with stethoscopes around their in the necks, treating patient after patient. All of them know their jobs, and at the right point in treatment, they come in and execute their skills.
In addition to the medical personnel, there are the people who cook the food, the people who clean the dishes, people who work on the heating, and the air-conditioning, and the lights, and the building maintenance. Every single role is imperative in order for a single person to get well.
I begin to wonder if we as the body of Christ all understand the role that we play in the same way.
Do we know what part of the healing process we were designed to play in the Kingdom of God and in the lives of those who are hurting all around us? Have we been trained? Have we refined our skills? Are we on call, waiting for opportunities to reach the hurting people all around us?
It is true that Hannah would be waiting, would continue to wait, and would never progress to the next level of healing unless the next specialist walked into the room to assess, and then take her to the next level. I wonder how many more people would be helped and healed if we all similarly pursued our roles in God’s hospital, the Church?
Teen Mania International
P.O. Box 619010
Dallas, TX 75261
To provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take His life giving message to the ends of the earth.