Life is about structure. We need external structure and we need internal structure. External structure is to support the internal structure. When external structure is absent, all the load of the responsibility is placed on the internal structure. That places too much stress and responsibility on the internal structure.
We were designed to live in societies that supply external structure to support our internal structure. Each system provides external structure for the internal structure of the smaller systems that depend on it.
The government is external structure. It provides structure to support the family and community. The government provides infrastructure of all kinds and a police force to maintain law and order. These are external structures to provide safety and services for the local communities.
The family is external structure. The individuals in the family have internal structure. The family provides the external structure to develop and support the internal structure of the individual.
A church congregation is external structure. The Spiritual life of the individual is his/her internal structure. The Church provides external Spiritual and social structure to support the internal Spiritual and social structure of the individual.
The Scripture and the Holy Spirit in the individual provide the strength for the internal structure. The Scripture and the Holy Spirit in the Church provide the structure of the Church which provides the external structure for the individual members.
When external structures are absent or not functioning well, the stresses for life are placed on the internal structure. If a family is dysfunctional, the internal structure of the individual has to provide all of the structure for life. That is too heavy of a load. People get overloaded very quickly in those kinds of situations.
If a church congregation does not provide for the Spiritual and social needs of the members, the members need to depend on their internal structure for their support and well-being. That is too heavy of a load on the individual.
We were made to function in social groups. We were not made to live alone. Social groups provide the needed external structure so we can develop into healthy, internally structured persons.
One of the reasons for many people needing counseling today is the lack of functional external structures. As the external structures of family, schools, church, and government fail to meet the external structural needs, the individual has to provide all the strength for life. That places too much demand on the internal structure for most people to deal with.
When we cannot deal with it, we then need to be propped up with counseling, medications, etc. so we can function in the compounded stresses of each day.
That said, in situations of duress, the internal structure will carry us through that time of life. Esther and Daniel were examples of the internal structure that was built into them early in life. That purpose carried them when strength failed. God did provide for them even in that time. He did and He will.
Jesus in the Garden prayed. He was supported by Heaven and by His prayers to His Father. When totally forsaken, His faith was still there. He knew that He knew that He knew that God was there even in the forsaken condition.
God has provided a wonderful plan for us to be supported by the structures around us and for us to provide those structures for those around us. Those provisions will sustain us even in times of aloneness. When father and mother forsake me, the Lord will lift me up Ps. 27:10. He will not forsake you.
We are designed to live in supportive community. But if and when that fails, we do not despair because God will be there. God is there. Praise the Lord. Meanwhile, let us build strength into our children and our church members so they are strong when they need to be.
Healthy families and healthy churches develop structure; not by demanding lock-step compliance but by training and teaching truth and discipline and by shepherding with love and grace and guidance so that we all come to the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ. That is God’s plan. That needs to be our plan also.