This week is spring break for the grandkids. Because a family trip isn’t possible right now, Brenda has planned a “stay-cation.” Each evening, one of the children is scheduled to choose 1) a favorite snack to be served, 2) the flavor of the evening’s popcorn, 3) a favorite game for everyone to play, and 4) the movie to be shown. Last night Jenny picked 1) moon pies, 2) butter and salt, 3) UNO, and 4) The Empire Strikes Back (“Luke, I’m your FAH-ther.”)
I began to think about that line. Why was it so earth-shaking for Luke to hear those words? What a huge difference it made in his life! FAMILY! It is the context in which we live, and the earliest means of describing, to ourselves and also to others, who we are. Our very names define our identity in terms of our relationship to our parents.
At present, we are living in a four-generation household, thanks to Quang and Brenda’s loving hospitality. While it can get hectic at times, it’s also a blessing. For many years, Brenda has missed having family nearby. We were the closest, at three hours away. Her twin Bryan is the farthest, in Moscow, almost as far away as possible from Georgia, USA. And now, for better or worse, Mom will be here full-time, and we will be in and out over the next year. We pray that we will be a blessing and not a burden. But no matter what happens, we will always be family.
Whether our family relationships are good or very bad, we hope for, and in our hearts expect, love and acceptance from our family members. That longing goes back to the very first family—Adam and Eve. Indeed, God created Eve because “It is not good for Man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). But even that first family, after the Fall, was seriously flawed, to the extent that Cain actually killed his brother out of jealousy. The whole story of the Bible is one of redemption, restoring not only our relationships with one another, but our relationships with God. Adam and Eve’s sin brought about both physical and spiritual death, but Christ’s sacrifice turned death on its head and brought true spiritual life out of His own death. And one day physical death itself will die, when He returns.
For this reason, our spiritual family is more permanent than our physical family. And it’s also why the New Testament is filled with guidelines and exhortations about how those in that spiritual family should relate to one another. As flawed as the Church can be, it is still vital that each Christian should be part of a larger group, a spiritual family, that can provide fellowship, teaching, encouragement, comfort, and yes, even discipline when needed.
For thirty-four years, we were part of one such fellowship, and the blessings were (and are) innumerable. No matter where the Lord leads us in the future, we will always be a part of that family, and they will be part of us. The longings that we feel when we’re apart are truly longings for the future, when we will be together forever in the Kingdom of God. We are “forever family.” What a blessing it is, when our physical family members are also part of our spiritual family. And what agony when they are not. For each person must choose whether to accept Christ’s atoning sacrifice, bringing a restored relationship with God, or to reject it, bringing eternal separation not only from Him, but from everyone and everything else that they hold dear. How is your relationship with Jesus? If you have never given your life to Him, confessing your sin and accepting His sacrifice for you, please considering doing that today. Contact us if we can help.