Relationships are Hard, but There is Hope

This morning I sat with my family of five on the couch to do family devotions before the day got away from us. Over the last several months, we have intended to do better as a family, but the hustle and bustle of life create disruptions. So, this morning I decided we would remove the chance of something derailing our desires to open the Word together as a family.

My groggy and grouchy ten-year-old sulked to the couch, accompanied by his eight-year-old brother (who is more than happy to make the ten-year-old mad at life) and his three-year-old sister (who has never had a bad morning in her life!). They sat on the couch with their mama and me as we opened the book we used to guide our family devotions.

The book’s author (Chris Bruno) connects the biblical narrative from beginning to end through 16 words (the book’s title is The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words). In the opening chapter, Bruno begins with the end. He reminds the reader that there is hope in God’s perfect plan to redeem and restore creation. He starts with the reminder of God’s promise to crush the head of the serpent through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Genesis 3:15). Bruno then ends with a reminder from Revelation 21:3-5 that one day the promise of Christ’s redemption would be perfected in the New Heavens and New Earth.

The reality of the now left me pensive as I discussed these things with my children. While believers understand that forgiveness, justification, and redemption are complete at the moment of conversion and saving faith, they will not be fully realized until Christ consummates his plan in the New Creation.

This tension has been called the “already and not yet” by theologians, and it can be confusing. While Christ offers new life, eternal life, we all will still face physical death. Sickness still happens, evil still exists, and the Devil is still roaming the earth seeking whom he may devour. So, while Christ has already initiated his kingdom through his work on the cross, as believers, we wait with anticipation for that time when there is no more sadness, sickness, and defeated death has no more sting.

So, what does any of this mean, and why is it worth writing a blog? As I led my family through this discussion, answering questions and trying to keep the three-year-old from dancing like Elsa in the middle of the living room, I was struck by the fact that sin still is. The fall is still in effect. The daily struggles to grow in sanctification are still there. But more importantly, relationships are complicated. The fall ruined the image-bearers relationship with the Divine Image; subsequently, every other relationship is now complicated. Marriages go through trials. The relationships between parents and children are often tumultuous. The employee-boss relationship is always a tricky one to navigate. And the examples go on. The irony is even when you try to do right by a relationship, you can create problems. Sin has so infected us that even attempts to nurture relationships can result in relational trauma.

Why? Because in the already/not yet tension, relationships are still marred by sin. This must cause us to seek after the Son’s relationship with the Father. Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father. Where Adam failed, Jesus did not. He lived a life we could not live and died a death that we should have died. He did this so that our broken relationship with the Father might be restored. Relationships can only be redeemed through Christ, and while there will still be relational difficulties in the already/not yet, there is hope for the believer that one day sin will no longer infect our relationships.

If you want information on Chris Bruno’s book, click here.

2 thoughts on “Relationships are Hard, but There is Hope

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  1. Thank you for that bit of hope for the day! 😊

    [cid:image001.jpg@01D8F369.E1437600]

    “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

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