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Putting the Pieces Together

Englishman N.T. Wright uses a pow-erful example of how our lives fit into the big picture of what God is doing in the world: It is that of a stonemason working on a great cathedral. When these architectural wonders were built during medieval times, the construction pro-cess lasted for decades, even centuries. The masons had little knowledge of how their work would fit into the big scheme. Most of them would not live to see the building completed. They had to trust that the architect would make their work count. Wright concludes his example saying, “The work we do in the present only gains its full significance somewhere in the future.” Nowhere is this illustration more apt than when it comes to our families. We carve the stones that are our children. We chip away at those strained relationships with our siblings or parents. We sand and cut the stones that make our marriage. We don’t know what it is all going to look like in the end. But we do the work put before us, and we trust God to put the pieces together. Certainly, we know the work of “fam-ily construction” is hardly ever easy, even though we preacher-types don’t always ac-knowledge this fact. We are swift to give the impression that if your family is not con-structed of a strong, spiritual bring-home-the-bacon father, a faithful, loving stay-at-home mother, and two and a half obedient, always compliant children, then your family isn’t “biblical” and your work is defective in some way. This is absolutely preposterous. If ineptness at home were a disqualifier, no family would have the construction ma-terials for a future, because every family is dysfunctional in one way or another; it is simply a matter of degree. This proves true especially with the “biblical” families found in the Scriptures. You will be hard pressed to find a family in the Bible – not even Jesus’ own family that once tried to hide him in a padded room – that is not seriously flawed. “Biblical” families, with all their murder, adultery, polygamy, sexism, violence, and envy are far less operational than most of our families, and I think that’s the point. If God can build his glorious cathedral with them, then he ought to be able to use, bless, and preserve our families too. God’s grace will be enough to beautifully construct what we cannot build on our own. Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated colum-nist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and rece

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