As you read this I am in no way seeking to make others feel guilty. There may be situations and circumstances that lead families down different roads but in all of this I would pray we would first ask the question; “Is what I am about to do what God’s word calls me to do.”
Many of you that know me may already know about our forthcoming move to Tennessee but you may not know why. There may be those that think this may be to simply move from Southern California and its bankrupt government and decaying morals. Others may see it a move to change lifestyles from the fast paces world of California to a more agrarian life. Both of those are reasons we as a family have thought of moving and they may have led us to move years down the road but that is not why we have decided to move in the next few months. Those are not the reasons that I have given notice and really am not entirely sure what is ahead. The reason we are moving is that to do as God would have us do we need to leave California. Let me explain:
For some time we have known that the call of scripture is not to send ones parents off to retirement homes or other places to spend their last days but it is our duty as children to care for them. The call in 1 Tim 5:4 in reference to families caring for widows can be applied to parents as a whole depending on their situations. We know from Eph 6:1-2 which refers back to Ex 20:12 and the 5th commandment that we are called to honor our parents and this does not end at adulthood but is a lifelong commandment. The OT is full of pictures of this honoring and in fact the OT is a wonderful picture of how we are to care for one another in families. Even jesus on the cross did not leave Mary to fend for herself but gave that duty to John as sort of an extended family member. Thus, from scripture we have come to the conviction that caring for our families is not an option even though how this would work out was not fully known to us
I would like to interject here that there may be cases where a family cannot care for their parents due to some extenuating circumstance or the parent may even refuse care. But I would add that we are to always start with the family being the ones to directly, and primarily, care for family members. As a society we have all too often given this duty up to the state and have been indoctrinated over the years to rely on Uncle Sam to care for our family. However, that is not the plan of God but the plan of man. We need to get back to God’s design for families and leave the world’s humanistic, narcissistic, me centered plan.
So back to our story: Over the last year we have known of health issues in one of my wife’s parents but did not think much of it with regards to how it would directly affect us now and how God would use it to build us up. However, over the last few months we came to realize that our so called plan for the future was to be for the present. We realized that we would need to help Donna’s father and mother and to do so we had to make some changes. God does not simply ask us to do what is convenient but to do what is called for in His word. The joy and hope that we have is that He does not ask us to do more than we are prepared to do. He prepares us by His word (2 Tim 3:16-17), by the path He leads us down and by the changed heart He provides. So we have headed down the path He has set before us. We do not know all that is ahead but we do know that God will provide and will not forsake us as we seek to be obedient to His call.
I was asked at work by a well meaning co-worker if we really knew what was ahead and my answer was as simple as God will provide. The world does not understand this and sadly much of the church does not either. I would encourage you not only in family matters but in all things to trust God and obey His word. Not just those parts that are easy, comfortable, or culturally acceptable but all that God calls us to do in His word. Will things be easy, probably not but God never promised ease but says that what He commands us to do will not be burdensome (1 Jn 5:3). I am confident that God will not only provide but that He is with us in this endeavour and since He is not only the God of the ends but also the God of the means He will provide those means in His way and in His timing so that He is most glorified.
So I would ask a couple things. First, that in your families you would seek God’s word for how they are to function, in all areas of family life. Seek God’s guidance and power so as to have families that are directed by His word and not the culture that surrounds them and that we would be families that most glorify God and expand His kingdom. Secondly, I would ask that you to pray for our family as we head off into this new adventure. This is not an adventure that others have not entered into but we need to bathe all things we do in prayer so your prayers are appreciated.