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F a i t h   M a t t e r s  with Dr. Ken Lovelace


HOME: In the Beginning
Gen. 2:23-24, Eccl. 12:13-14, Psalm 127:1




Except for my wife, I've never told this story to anyone; probably because it scares me to death to think about. While we were missionaries in Portugal, we joined in the highly acclaimed Thanksgiving celebration for our mission, which was made up of all IMB missionaries in Portugal. One year, we met at the home of one of our colleagues in southern Portugal. Their house was on a hill. Just beyond the house was a significant drop-off of some 30 feet or so, at the bottom of which were train tracks, lots of rocks, fossils, shells, and a scattering of trees. Most of the missionaries had younger children and many of them asked me to go with them down to the tracks. I was ready for a walk and gladly took them.


In order to get to the area to which they wanted to go, we had to climb down a steep, rocky embankment. Once down there, we had a solid wall of rock at our backs, train tracks just a few feet away, and a hilly area on the other side of the tracks. We had a lot of fun looking at fossils, shells, and just messin' around. We even followed the train tracks around the sharp curve and saw that about 100' away it became a bridge, without handrails, that suspended the trains over a deep canyon, the bottom of which was home to a winding river. The kids, of course, asked if we could go out there and look down. "No way," I said; letting the wind out of their sails…or the steam out of their engines, in keeping with the analogy.


Our time there took me back many years to my days as a boy in southern Arkansas. I lived with my parents in a neighborhood on the edge of town that was nestled in the woods. Fewer than 100 yards through the woods were train tracks. My friends and I used to go there and do all kinds of dangerous, and unwise, things. We jumped on and rode the slower moving trains, we climbed all over the stopped trains, and we enjoyed putting our ears on the tracks and listening to the vibrations that indicated that a train, though out of sight, would be arriving soon. When we heard a certain vibration, that was our cue to put rocks and pennies and other small objects on the tracks that we wanted smashed by the iron wheels of the train.


Back in Portugal, I was awakened from my daydream by an almost unnoticeable and undetectable vibration in the tracks that threw me into an instinctive mode of survival in which I had not operated for decades. Because of the sharp curve in the tracks and the high rock wall, no one could see or hear the train coming. Though the area was dangerous, no horn blared from the train. I instinctively hollered at the top of my lungs, "Run!!!!" as I began grabbing kids off the tracks and running myself. I was terrified.


Almost in slow motion, I suddenly saw the front of that train round the bend and I prayed to God that I had acted quickly enough. "Did anyone get their foot caught in the tracks and fall in front of the train?" I wondered. It all happened so quickly that even if a child were trapped, I could not have helped him. "Did everyone make it off in time? Why didn't the engineer sound his horn?"


I hollered silently in my mind. I looked to my left and then to my right and counted kids. I thought they were all there. In our wanderings, I had not thought anything about the fact that we had ceased our amazement at the bridge and had wandered back to looking for "treasures" on and around the tracks.


Now, in a matter of seconds, we all stood motionless with our backs to the rocky wall as a speeding train whizzed by just a couple of feet from our noses. Once the train passed, no one moved. Absolute terror was inscribed upon every face. All the treasures they had gathered and left on the tracks were demolished…gone… destroyed. As quickly as the train appeared, it vanished. But the aftermath of devastation was all too real. Yes, everyone made it off the tracks, but this missionary would never be the same.


As I recounted that experience, I found that it provided for me a picture of our nation today. Without warning and without permission, over the last century, the train of tolerance, the laissez-faire express, has sped through the American home and has left unimaginable devastation in its path. The crisis of home today is far beyond epidemic. Every value once viewed as a basic building block for the home is seen now as optional and is usually rejected. "Anything goes" is an overused expression, but it accurately describes that which is used for building homes today.


Once, homes were built with the strong building blocks of commitment, faith, courage, hope, peace, love, joy, and forgiveness. Today's building blocks are weak and without substance and we see homes crumbling all around us. The pervasive postmodern mindset has insured places of prominence for relative, subjective truth. The dependence on and acceptance of absolutes is now seen as out of fashion and out of date. Political correctness may be correct for some, but not for those seeking to build God-honoring homes on the sure foundation of God's absolute Word.


The enemy knows that the most important foundational element for our nation is our homes. If he can destroy them, he can destroy America. Sadly, as goes the home, so goes the nation. Sadder still is the fact that, as goes the home, so goes the church.


It's time to wake up, my friend. The warning horn is sounding and the future of the home has been weighed in the balance and has been found wanting. And though we've seen cracks in the foundation of the American home for decades, the cracks of divorce and violence and pornography and hatred and unforgiveness, the largest and most destructive "crack," the one crack big enough to destroy the home as we know it, is becoming more threatening by the day: that of redefining marriage and the family; remaking the home in man's image instead of God's. If lawmakers succeed in doing that, I believe it will be to the home what abortion has been to the family; a fissure of devastating proportions. "History shows that if any society wants to survive, it must uphold, strengthen, and continue to build upon the biblical" institution of the home.1


So we know the home is in trouble. Not long ago, John and Linda Dollar of Beverly Hills, FL, were arrested for punishing their children by beating them with hammers, submitting them to electric shock, and pulling out their toenails with pliers. The home is going under. Many Christian's homes have come up for their last breath, too. Why? Two reasons.


First, they have neglected God's blueprint for the home as found in His word. Second, they are in trouble, in part, because the church has not been the strong voice it should have been over the past few decades. Instead, not wanting to offend the general populous, the church at large has sought, not to be in the world, but to be like the world.


Many denominations have aligned themselves with the agendas of those who would tame the church, censor the church, or even bring the church down. The church over the decades should, instead, have been a voice telling believers that God's will is not that they model their homes after the world's homes; God's will is that believers build their homes on the sure foundation of His Word.


Over the next few weeks, we're going to learn from God's Word what He says the Christian home should look like. I will not hold up as a standard the homes you see on "Everybody Loves Raymond," "King of the Hill," "The Simpson's," or even "7th Heaven." No, the standard I will hold high is that of God's Word because it's the only standard that works and the only one that matters.


Whatever we choose to do in designing and redesigning our homes over these weeks, we will arrive together at the end of "Home. Works." understanding that doing life together as God's family really does work and will work for us if we choose to implement His plan and appropriate His principles. So, let's get started. Next time we'll consider: Home: God's Big Idea!


1 Ministering to 21st Century Families, p. 282.


Copyright © 2010. Faith Matters by Dr. Ken Lovelace. All rights reserved.

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