Friday, May 03, 2019




MAY 4, 2019



God's design for families.

We are living in interesting times. Things that many Christians reading this article will assume to be normal simply no longer are. Principles of dating, marriage, sexuality, discipline, spouse roles seem to have changed in the minds and lives of many people. This is especially true for the younger generations coming up.

To illustrate this and to invite us deeper into the study this week I would like to contrast two buildings for you. The first one takes us to the wilds of Cambodia, the second back to the USA. 

You will need to use your godly imagination to create the correct mental pictures as I take you to this far off place. One travel book quoted a famous writer calling the Bokor Hill Station the "eeriest place on earth." So, with an introduction like that and a healthy sense of adventure, let's go!

These descriptions have come from a trip my family and I took years ago when we were serving with Adventist Frontier Missions and long before Cambodia's infrastructure caught up and made this historic French installment accessible. For us to make the trip we had to use our new to us "off-road" Camry that God's believers had sacrificed to supply for us. I say off-road because the Cambodian people liked to use the older Camrys and add about 4 inches to the struts so that there was a little higher clearance for the roads that would be the norm. So, feeling a little more secure with four wheels (compared to our trusty 100 cc moped we had used previously for all of our trips - with 4 people on it) we headed off towards the mountains in southwest Cambodia.

As we ambulated up this intentional piece of old French military asphalt, with thoughts of elephants emerging from the pristine jungle each hole, fallen log, and mud filled chasm reminded us of our thankfulness that we weren't on our trusty moped for this adventure! Passing a poor tourist on our right further cements that thought. I intentionally use the word cement because the road needed some of that; and the tourist was poor, not in the sense of having no money (though flying half way around the world to see Bokor may increase those chances), but because she actually believed the travelogue blather about "you can take a local moped driver up to the top of the mountain." As each bump and pothole (read: !POTHOLE!) catapults her to new heights we quickly realize that it was only the weight of the clay draped all over her body that is keeping her spinal shock absorber semi-attached to the intrepid driver and moped. Hoping to see her again on the top if any of us make it, we wave and bounce on, happily surrounded in our bondo-sustained steel Camry.

After what seemed like a tremendously long time of Toyotian/Cambodian rodeo and a few stops to check on our tire pressure, we arrive at one of the buildings towards the top of the mountain. Was it truly eerie? Only because of disuse. Peering through the fog our eyes take in a building of great intention and marvelous beauty. Unfortunately, due to Cambodia's horrendous past it is being reclaimed by the jungle although the structure is still intact. Many items are missing either from age or from the pilfering or irresponsible guides and tourists. Nonetheless, there is ample evidence that this place was made to be a retreat of majestic grandeur with magnificent views. Walking from room to room one sight intrigues me above all others: a glorious, oversized bay window overlooking . . .

In contrast, quickly come with me in your mind's eye to the heartland of the USA to see a building that the international speaker Ravi Zacharias describes as unthinkable. Imagine an experimental building known for being the epitome of postmodern thinking on a university campus. Having thrown off the normal constraints of purpose and "rules", it boasts columns supporting nothing, staircases leading nowhere, hallways that dead end, and even windows in front of brick walls. As Ravi listened to his driver praise the merits of a building made without the age old constraints in the name of pure freedom, he asked an important question: what about the foundation? Even a building defying rules requires a solid foundation!

That is what this week's lesson endeavors to do and remind us of. In a world of doubt and change the scripture gives us both the foundation and design for a true and happy family. Principles for marriage, discipline, interpersonal communication, and finding true love can be found through this study guide of God's word. I pray that we take the time to glean its timeless truths. Yet, may they be more than just a foundation for a life of mindless futility and decisions that lead nowhere. Let God's truth transform our families. 

Momentarily let's go back to Cambodia. What was the picture window overlooking? 

Unfortunately, I did not see it! Due to the dense fog I failed to see both the view and the purpose of all the architectural focus of the building. Tragically, we actually left Bokor without the fog ever lifting. 

I am concerned that the same is happening in our world today. Godly marriages and families are becoming ancient relics of a bygone time. The intention, design, and beauty remain nearly inaccessible in remote corners of the world, and the god of this world has blinded peoples' eyes so that they do not see the whole point and purpose of the family. As we dive into this week's lesson let's pray that God will send His mighty wind in these last days to dispel the mists of doubt and reveal His glorious design for families, again!

~Bryan Gallant

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