How do we respond when bad things happen to people we love? When they happen to our children? Jules’s parents had to watch their son go to prison because of a bad decision, not knowing how long he’d be there. While going through trials, we may not be able to see how things will end. Many families have had something happen to one of their own, something that makes them question how they’ll ever get through it.

Whatever you’re going through, God can relate. He can relate with your struggles as a parent because He created Friday, the day His Son went to the cross.  God is first and foremost a parent. History is a tale of His two children, Adam and Jesus. Because of them, He can relate to a child who makes a bad decision and all hell breaks loose because of it. He can also relate to a child who makes a good decision and still all hell breaks loose.

God had a son who messed up, so don’t feel shame when bad things happen in your family. God is right there, a faithful Father before, during, and after any situation we’re facing. Our God is not a far-off God. In fact, He still showed up when Adam sinned—it was Adam who hid from Him. God isn’t put off by our issues or our messes. He’s there to go through them with us. He also has a Son whose act of righteousness on the cross put right what Adam’s sin had ruined. We aren’t made right by changing our behavior, but by transferring ownership of our life from ourselves to God. Jesus came into the world to become a man — our salvation, our sacrifice — and what He did puts us in right standing with God if we trust in Him. Your life might be out of control, a mess because of sin, but you can step into a relationship with Jesus right now.

Through Jesus, we are connected with a God who not only relates with us, but will help us deal with whatever we’re facing. How often does fear come in and complicate an already complicated matter? Life can be a fearful experience. But Paul says we no longer live under the enslaving power of fear; we have God’s Spirit living in us the minute we let Jesus take control (Romans 8:15). In that moment, we can call God “Dad,” and we have the same access to Him as a child has to his father. God as our Father affirms us as His children. Whatever we go through, He’s there to say, “You’re my children. I’m with you. I can bring you through this.”

We don’t stop experiencing painful things when we accept Jesus. The people we love don’t stop experiencing painful things. But while we go through them, we can know with certainty that God is working for our good. He’s doing things we don’t even realize He’s doing. God is for us, and He loves us no matter what. Nothing we go through or put ourselves through can separate us from His love. That’s the God factor. He gives us an uncommon advantage over our common problems.

Watch the full sermon here.