Getting Through Hard Times With Your Family – Genesis 47


You’re in “survival mode” when your family is dealing with a health, financial or relationship crisis. These easy ways to get through hard times will help you and your family cope with the most painful, difficult seasons in life.

I’m sharing the easiest ways to survive family stress because you need strength and energy to get through today. Right now you don’t have emotional, mental, spiritual or physical resources to start healing broken family relationships or even think about the best tips for dealing with controlling parents.

Keep it simple. Right now you need to focus on surviving this season of your life. In this article you’ll learn that figuring out how to get through hard times with your family can be as easy as remembering three things: be available, sticky, and hopeful.

Last night I met a young man — a fellow student at Regent College in Vancouver — who just found out his grandfather had a heart attack. My fellow student, who we’ll call Sam, was raised by his grandpa and grandma back home in Ontario. Sam is here in British Columbia, unable to be with his grandparents in the hospital. His grandfather almost died, and may never fully recover from the heart attack.

Naturally, Sam is upset, worried and scared. This are normal feelings; he doesn’t know if his grandpa will live, and he’s not there to help or comfort his grandmother. He is going through hard times with his family…yet he can’t support or love his grandparents the way he wants to.

Even though he doesn’t feel like it’s enough, Sam is doing what he can to help his family get through a hard time. He’s doing three easy things — which you, too, can do:

  1. Be available and accepting
  2. Stick with your family the whole time
  3. Know that this, too, will pass

I can’t offer specific advice for all problems families face. These “easy tips” are general enough to apply to most situations, yet specific enough to help you get through the hardest time of your life without adding stress.

How to Get Through Hard Times With Your Family

This article was inspired by Genesis 47 and is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project. You don’t have to follow Jesus to benefit from my tips for getting through hard times — nor do you have to know anything about Jacob and Joseph’s family. Just keep an open mind and take what you like. Let the rest fall away.

1. Be available and accepting

She Blossoms Getting Through Hard Times With Your Family Genesis 47
Getting Through Hard Times With Your Family

Genesis 47 tells us that Joseph was available and willing to help when his brothers and father needed him — even after a twenty year family estrangement because Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and lied to their father Jacob about his death. Joseph was abandoned and rejected by his family. He had to survive life on his own in the foreign land of Egypt; Joseph was also imprisoned for several years after being falsely accused by Potipher’s wife. Yet, despite all the pain his brothers caused, Joseph was willing to help his family get through hard times. And it wasn’t just “hard times.” Joseph’s daily was facing death by starvation because of famine in Canaan.

How available and accepting are you? Your family can’t get through this hard time alone. They need your support, help, and presence. Your family needs you to show up physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally. This is an easy way to get through hard times with your family because you need only show up and ask how you can help. Even better, you can look around and see what needs to be done. Do dogs need to be walked, food cooked, children driven to school, diapers changed (for babies or adults), plants watered, hugs given?

Getting through a hard time with your family requires you to be the solution, not the problem.



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2. Stick with your family the whole time

When did Joseph abandon his family? Never. Not in the hard times of mocking, rejection, and betrayal. Not in the long painful season of separation and estrangement. Genesis 47 tells us Joseph walked beside his family through the hard times of famine and loss, suffering and grief. Joseph’s love and loyalty went a step further when he advocated for his family in front of the Egyptian pharaoh. Joseph is often compared to Jesus Christ in many ways; this instance stands out to me because both Joseph and Jesus stood before rulers and sacrificed themselves for the people they loved and wanted to save. Joseph and Jesus both stuck with their families. These men show us how to get through hard times…and it can be as easy as sticking with your family.

Are you sticking with your family through these hard times? You may not need to advocate for your family to an Egyptian pharaoh or Herodian king, but maybe you need to call a lawyer, doctor, or counselor. You may not have to literally risk your life or physically die, but maybe you can sacrifice some comforts or conveniences to help your family get through these hard times. Sticking with your family might not seem like an easy tip for getting through hard times, but it might be simpler than you think. Just one little sacrifice will go a long way. How can you stick with your family in ways that they notice and appreciate?

3. Know that this, too, will pass

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The fleeting nature of life is oft revealed in the book of Genesis. Genesis 47 is no different. “We have come to live in the land for awhile…” is how Joseph’s brothers phrased their stint in Egypt (Genesis 47:4). Other Biblical translations call their season in Egypt a “sojourn”, which means passing through temporarily. “My pilgrimage…” is how Jacob refers to his life in Genesis 47:9. The bulk of Genesis 47 describes how the years of famine unfold in Egypt…and how everyone survived. The book ends with life — which goes on — and a hint of death to come.

Remember that you WILL get through this hard time with your family. You may not know how long this season will last or how it’ll end. You may not know which relationships will survive, or even who will live to see how it all turns out. Life is always filled with unknowns and uncertainties, questions and mysteries. If you can learn to live with hope and peace — joy and freedom! — then you’ll find it easier to get through hard times with your family.

Where, you ask, does one get this hope and peace, joy and freedom? I hate to give a pat answer, but sometimes the easiest way is the simplest. Jesus is the answer. He is the way, the truth, and the light. Jesus can make the hardest times easy because He is more powerful, loving, strong, and compassionate than you could ever imagine. Do you know Jesus? If you have questions about God or having a personal relationship with Jesus, talk to a believer. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section at the end of this article.

If you’re coping with problems at home, read 9 Ways to Survive Abusive Parents When You Live at Home.

What do you think about my “easy ways” to get through hard times with your family? Your thoughts — big and little — are welcome below.

With His love,

Laurie

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