Isaiah 46-47, family and idols

Who was it who said, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”? How true!
I envy people who seem to have such close happy families. Always visiting each other (and enjoying the experience), phoning each other up, having family meetings to sort out a problem as a united front, always there for each other. Maybe I was brought up watching to many episodes of ‘the Waltons’!
I suppose for every close family, there are just as many families who for whatever reason don’t have much contact with each other, that is, other than the usual wedding or funeral.
The family I was brought up in has never been the closest, I like to think it is because we all live some distance from each other, but I’m not so sure.
At Wellfield church today we looked at Isaiah 46 – 47. One part made me instantly think about one of my four brothers. None of them are Christians, but they are aware of my Christian faith. Only one of them has made his opinion very clear on the subject.
He is a self-made man, and has cut himself off from all the family for a good few years. In an attempt to build bridges, I sent him a birthday card which contained a Christian verse. It worked, he did make contact, I received an email. Not the happy reunion I had planned, it was a tirade of abuse against the family and my Christian faith.
I was told never to send such a card again, that only weak minded people need such crutches to help them through their pitiful lives, etc. You see, my brother doesn’t believe he needs God. He has a great wife and children, with a big house, fantastic holidays and financially secure because he is so successful in business. Such a self-made man doesn’t need God!
Isaiah 47:10 You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, “No-one sees me”! Your wisdom and knowledge misled you when you say to yourself, “I am, and there is no one besides me”.
I despair at the idols my brother has made of his worldly success in life. I pray to God, and ask for prayer for him from my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that he will put his trust in Jesus and hear the words of Isaiah 46:4 … “I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Having listened to the sermon and thinking of my brother, it would be easy to go home and think – he is terrible sinner and needs to realise his idols have replaced the one true God. But, I am just as rubbish as he is. Yes I am a Christian and have a relationship with God, trusting in Jesus Christ, but what are my idols? None? Oh, if only I could put my hand on my heart and honestly say that. I look at the way I live my life, the way I spend my time and money. I am human, tainted by the fall as everyone else. I love my family, my husband and son, nice clothes and jewellery, money burns a hole in my pocket and I turn to food for comfort at the slightest hint of stress and for any excuse of a celebration.
Have I made idols of any of these things? I look into my life and the answer has to be….. well, what do you think? I’m not giving all my secrets away!
So I ask myself, what is the difference between my brother and me? Not that much really, we both have our idols in life. Our big difference is that I have Jesus as my redeemer, and with God’s word and fellowship of my church family I can look at my life and know that there is only one true God!
So you actually can choose your family, and I am happy to say that my father loves me and chose me.
Praise the Lord!
(By Jen)