To be in family, is to encounter times of struggles and strife. As parents, we are sure to experience fear and worry over the well-being of our children. Many parents are grieved and fear for the eternal salvation of their children who make poor life-choices. Spouses may be in a troubled marriage and fear the breakup of the family. No one is immune from struggles in life. How you deal with these struggles can positively affect the outcome and your own sense of well-being. Jesus speaks to these situations in the Gospels.
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat. And other boats were with him. And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Mark 35-40 (emphasis added)
Jesus speaks “Peace! Be still!” into the storms we are experiencing in our families. He is in the boat with us as we sail these difficult seas. Jesus gives us further counsel in His “Sermon on the Mount” discourse (Matthew chapters 5 through 7). It is a collection of His teachings on Christian living, encapsulating the Law of the New Covenant, emphasizing that this life is temporal and that our true home is with His Father in Heaven. Living according to Jesus’ commands is to experience hope and joy independent of our circumstances, because we are focused on our eternal home in Heaven.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Matthew 6:25-33 (emphasis added)
In the Old Testament, the Greek word for righteousness is diakaiosunē, denoting the uprightness and faithfulness of God to His people. It is used throughout Scripture in association with God’s covenant with His people Israel. The New Testament builds on this covenant foundation and God’s righteousness through the saving work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the righteousness of God through His obedience to the commands of His Father. In Baptism, we are partakers of God’s righteousness as His adopted sons and daughters. Through the Holy Spirit given to us in Baptism and further inflamed at Confirmation, we receive the gift of righteousness to increase in love and obedience to God’s covenant Law.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. Matthew 6:34
God supplies our physical needs to signify His greater concern for our spiritual needs. As He clothes the lilies of the field with radiant beauty, His desire is to cloth us with the glorious garments of immortality in Heaven. God is asking us to trust in His care in this life and the next. So bring your troubles, cares, and concerns to your heavenly Father. In doing so, you are demonstrating faith in His loving provision. He cares for you and delights in your child-like trust in His love and mercy.
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-11
Seek God with all your heart, mind and strength. Give everything over to Him. In doing so, you will experience hope and joy, the highest form of happiness, that is only to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27