What is family? Is it something you are born into? Is is something you are chosen for? There are families that have children from a biological standpoint and others from adoption. The quote ” blood is thicker than water” is often used with family. People say you can choose your friends, but your family is chosen for you. You have no control over that.
Many people struggle with family. Not everyone is blessed with a solid two parent ( male and female) family that is based in the strength and knowledge of the Lord. Not everyone has family that they can count on in this human existence. I think that is why some struggle to come to Christ, they have a bad taste in their mouth of family.
In my own bible studies we have women who have been molested as children, had alcoholic parents, unloving and absent parents, divorced parents, detached parents ( this goes along with siblings also). We have dealt with every sin listed in the bible and yet we get to declare to one another that we are the body of Christ, his joint heir, adopted into the family of God, no longer strangers to the promises of Israel, and know, because of Christ Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, He has made us one new man, joining us together, grafting us into one olive tree and making us ONE family–in Christ
One of my dear friends of over 15 years lost her husband last week to a sudden and unexpected death. She is now a widow. She woke up and he was gone. He was no doubt out riding his bike, as was his custom, and then in a second her whole world changed. What struck me as the ensuing days flowed along, was the absence of her mother, father and siblings. Finally after a few days and just one day prior to the funeral I asked her where were they? Why weren’t they here? I find it is sometime good to just ask bluntly and kindly and not try and guess or find out from another source. One look in her eyes and I knew the answer. She did not have a idyllic earthly family. She did not have a family that would swoop in and embrace her when she was utterly exposed and helpless and in a state of mind that needs a nurturing mother, sister, sibling. I knew at that moment I was her mother, her sister, her friend. If she had been my family sister I would have dropped my life and ran to her side. That is what family does. But you see, I did, as did so many others that came to her needs. We are her “blood” family; A true family of Christ and we swang into action. Blood is thicker than water, and that blood is the blood of Christ. This is a better blood, a perfect blood and one that saves us so we can be together in eternity. Because, make no mistake, we are all eternal beings simply inhabiting a body, one day we will leave this shell and head to parts unknown to our natural human senses, but there are places to spend eternity. Where will you?
As I sat with the women in bible study and we prayed and wept, I thought outloud and charged myself and them also, that we are that family member. We are that sister, that mother. This is our family, the family we are “born again” into. Not by choice, ( of course we have free will), but by the power of the Holy Spirit knitting together this family. Guess what? I don’t get to choose them either! Just like an earthly family I am born into this God family and it is no less a family than the one I live with daily.
We are called to be the family of God. We are to bind them up, mourn with them, stop life and sit with them, be there in the coming weeks, months and years, as life on this planet continues. Her husband was a believer, He is with Christ, we saw his body, he was not there. Paul tells us in scripture that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, He was absent from his body, He is with the Lord. But my dear sweet sister is very much in her body, and it is tired, sore, feeling all sorts of hormonal and emotional responses foreign to her and we are hear to help.
So today, I charge you, do not go back to your comforts of home, your closest family after simply giving a meal or a prayer. Treat the body of Christ closest to you as you would a member of the family you live with. This will cause sacrifice, schedule change, life change, but it is the call of God. James tells us that the true Gospel is to tend to the poor, the orphan and the widow. That is what we do, we tend and care. I don’t know how long because I have seen God show me that this is not a timeline, she is my sister and I am hers; I am there for her as long as I am near and able. This is how we are different from the world. We don’t just send a flower, a card, a prayer, we act as family members and family members that love, care and respond to need. What an amazing God we serve and what a privilege to show His love to another. It is an honor to serve in the kingdom of Jesus, the Messiah, our Christ.