Joy In A Foreign Land
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The Passion Behind

“Ron’s Reflections”



There’s more to the story…

              As we’ve looked at the book Joan has written, it seemed to us that we needed to do more than tell the story of God’s grace in our lives.  Aware of how many families come apart under stress, we also wanted to offer hope for other hurting families.  We decided to highlight the things we learned.  Rather than interrupt the flow of the story as Joan told it, we decided to relegate the “meaning behind it” to a reflection section at the end of the chapter.  Each of those is concluded by a principle.

              There are a multitude of principles (truths about life) that are important for families to succeed.  We wouldn’t claim to have identified them all, nor have we placed them in order of importance.  In our book we’ve focused specifically on principles that were helpful to us during times of crisis. 


Every family experiences trials…

              We’re obviously not the only family who has experienced their world coming apart.  We suspect every family either has faced or will face a time of trials in which it seems like their whole life is shaken.  A family’s world can be shattered in any number of ways.  It could be the loss of a job or other significant financial setback.  It might be in the discovery that a son is addicted to pornography, or a daughter is using drugs, or some other disappointing choices of a family member – choices that lead to devastating consequences.  It could be a physical illness or injury leading to disability. 


How principles can help…

              We believe that God has given us everything that we need to allow us to live a full life, to be more than conquerors, even through disappointment and suffering.  One of those resources is a group of principles for living successfully.  In order for us to use this resource we must understand the nature of principles.

              Principles should not be viewed as blanket promises.  For example, it is not true that every “risk taking family” will succeed.  It doesn’t always work that way.  This does not mean principles aren’t always trustworthy or reliable.  They can be counted on – everything else being equal, if other principles do not supercede them.  We believe in the principle of “holding on to God in times of trial” as an important ingredient to family success; however, we don’t believe a family is going to be very successful if they basically ignore God the rest of their life. 

              But what a difference it has made for us to apply, for example, the principle of holding on to God.  He has been our comfort and our strength.  What if we had chosen to ignore this principle?  What if we decided that since God hadn’t kept the good times rolling for us we therefore would do without him and somehow cope on our own?  We believe we wouldn’t have made it. 


Principles are transferable…

              In highlighting principles, we trust that we are providing some handles for others, a way to help them take our story and give it meaning for their own situation.  Rather than this just being the story of one family who has stayed together, we trust it will result in helping many families succeed when their worlds are coming apart.

              We’ve discovered something else along the way.  The principles are transferable for us, too.  As we face new challenges, we find that we ourselves are helped by our own story, by looking back and reviewing the principles that have benefited us in the past and applying them to the present situation.


Applying the principles…

              If your family is in a time of crisis, our hearts go out to you.  We encourage you to carefully review the principles that have helped us and ask yourself a few key questions: 


  • Which principles might assist me in my situation? 
  • How would these principles work themselves out in my family? 
  • Are there other principles I need to consider for my family to succeed?


              Thanks for reading our book.  If it has been a help and encouragement to you, please write and let us know.  We would love to pray for you. 

              Ron and Joan Denlinger


Prologue   1  2  3  4  Appendix

Copyright (c) 2002 by Ron and Joan Denlinger



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