Keeping Your Family Stable in an Unstable World
By Sabrina Beasley McDonald
Four practical suggestions for facing uncertain times with faith and courage.
With terrorist attacks, dangerous dictators, and senseless murders all around us, sometimes it feels like the whole world has gone crazy … and maybe it has.
But God is still on His throne! Even when the battles rage and death seems to be all around us, God is still in sovereign control. As I raise my family in this world of upside down values and unprecedented media coverage, I remember the words of Jesus, “… Let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). Oftentimes, it is God’s will that His people pass through the fire of suffering and trials, even persecution. But He promises victory on the other side. He promises to go with us into the fire, and to provide a way through.
So how do we practically walk the path of stability in an unstable world? Here are a few suggestions:
First, make your spiritual life a priority. Learn to pray. Don’t just bow your head and mumble a few words and call it prayer—get down on your knees and cry out to God! Fervently, humbly, regularly. God listens to our prayers when we are desperate for His grace and mercy.
Live righteously. James 5:16 (NKJV) says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” How are we going to pass on a faith to our children that they have never been exposed to? It must be deep and sincere and pour out of us like life’s blood. If we don’t bleed the message of Christ, then we aren’t taking our faith seriously enough.
Go to church as a family and really worship—thank God, praise God, tell Him you love Him, think about what you’re doing there, and then do it with joy! In the words of King David, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1). When was the last time you were excited and glad to participate in the corporate worship of God? Church is not only about seeing your friends or participating in the community. It’s about pouring out your heart and soul—giving all the glory—to the one who saved you from hell.
Second, make the Word of God central in your home. Jesus said, “Everyone … who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and bear on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25). If your home is not standing on the teachings of the Bible, you will never have assurance or abiding peace. That is a privilege only for those who build their homes on those principles.
And how can you understand the principles of the Word if you never study it? A weekly message from your pastor is good, but it is not nearly enough information. You need to read the Word regularly and often. Hebrews 4:12 says, God’s Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” There are two great principles in this verse. First, the Bible is living and active. That means it is always enlightening you, showing you new meaning as the Holy Spirit gives you understanding. No matter how many times you read it, you can always learn something new. Second, it is a weapon that can be used in spiritual warfare, but it must be handled, learned, and practiced.
In a world of instability, we have the assurance we need in the Word of God. As you read and meditate on it your faith will be strengthened. As you read it to your family, your faith will be strengthened. As Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” The more you study the Bible, the more you strengthen your family’s foundation.
Third, assure your family of its own stability. Pledge to work through anything, no matter what happens. Children in today’s world don’t know what to expect for their future anymore. Any small spat between their parents can threaten the security of their home. They hear about war and shootings. But as a parent who trusts in God, you can assure your children that no matter what happens, you will work through it together as a family.
Talk to your spouse and agree to take the word “divorce” out of your vocabulary and off the table as an option. Never ever say the “D-word” again. As you solve problems, work on them together as a team with the same goal—reconciliation. Don’t hold grudges, and practice forgiveness and reconciliation.
There are so many free and inexpensive ways to strengthen your marriage if you will only put the effort into it. Start by praying together as a couple and as a family every day. The stronger the marriage, the stronger the family will be.
Fourth, don’t live in fear. Paul tells us that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Anything that has you and your family panicking is not from God. Fear is one of Satan’s most powerful weapons. We don’t have to prepare for warfare or stockpile and hoard food. Through any and every disaster in life, God promises to provide for His people. And if anything should take our lives, He has promised eternal life in return. No real harm can come to us!
Children need to see parents who can go out into the world with faith and courage in the words of God. We need Christians who live out what they say they believe, not hiding in their living rooms, but with courage to act out in faith, unafraid of what the world says and how they are despised. We should be showing more love, truth, kindness, and joy—all in the name of Jesus, ready to give account for the blessings that are in us.
Practice your faith and live in stability
The world may be falling to pieces. It certainly cannot stand forever because it is built on the wrong foundation, but Jesus’ kingdom will never fall. “… His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14). Take the risks it requires to practice your faith. Give more time to the work of your spiritual life and your family will see greater stability than it has ever known even in these unstable times.
Copyright © 2016 by Sabrina McDonald. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.
Author: Sabrina Beasley McDonald
Sabrina Beasley McDonald is a former senior writer and web editor for FamilyLife, working mainly with FamilyLife’s online magazine The Family Room. Over the years she has written of her engagement, wedding, and marriage to David Beasley, her experiences as a mother, her adjustment to widowhood in 2010 when David was tragically killed in a car accident, and her marriage in 2013 to Robbie McDonald.
Sabrina has written dozens of articles for FamilyLife. Her articles have also appeared in numerous publications, including Worldwide Challenge magazine; Christian Women Today online magazine; and Australian Christian Woman.