Everyone belongs to a family. People from all walks of life have unique perceptions of what the nature and definition of family is. I think one apt common denominator in the world’s view of family is that it is quite a precarious relational structure.
In the bible, I observe that familial ties are all tangled up in a multiplicity of dynamic structures; be it biological, social, or spiritual. Family may refer to people who are blood related, bonded together by some lawful bearing, or knit together in soulish affections. It seems to me that family is beautiful and sacred. However, I also think that family can be a scary thing.
Consider how two strangers can become brothers in the span of a few months or years. But when one or both of them must make adjustments to their schedule, residence, and/or relational priorities, the degree of joy and peace those brother’s derived from their bond is quantitatively diminished based on their limited interactions.
That’s just one very simple example of changes that often occur in the human experience with family-type relationships.
Human beings are designed by God for family and the nature of family is composed of close-knit relations. Family is an inescapable facet of life, we are all closely connected to someone in some shape, form, or fashion. That’s the thing that scares many of us. Being connected, closely connected, without any certainty that whatever level of closeness we share with someone is going to last forever can be a crippling fear.
I understand that there are few things in life more frustrating than facing the ever changing contexts of family connections. It can be downright devastating on different levels for different people, when family structures undergo different kinds of metamorphosis. Many people struggle with fear of change and loss, especially in regard to family.
Just a quick review of world history can assure us of the fact that human beings are not overly fond of change. We’ve always been this way. However, change is an inevitable factor of life that is bound to the passage of time and circumstance. The ever changing world that we live in can be scary, frustrating, or even devastating, because we are all born with a yearning for eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Our experiences in “earthly family” do not and can not bring fulfillment to our longings for an infinitely close bond with another life. In other words, God made us with longing for family kinds of connection that are eternal in their nature. Again, we are born with a sense of and yearning for eternity (eternal realities) in our hearts.
Based on my studies of the bible, I believe infinite closeness or intimate exchanges of life is the greatest desire the Lord has set in the hearts of mankind. Moreover, I believe that same desire is the greatest desire of His heart.
This is why parenthood, childhood, and matrimony are the greatest displays of the affections and nearness of God. There are no relationships that can conceivably be more close-knit than a father to his child or a husband to his wife.
Of course, in human relationships, a brother and sister may be closer to one another than they are to their parents. However, in regard to a relationship with the Lord, God intends that we be closer to Him as His children more than we are to one another as (biological or spiritual) siblings.
Family represents the closest of relationships and parent-child and husband-wife relationships are the pinnacle of them all. That’s precisely a part of the reason that the Lord predominantly describes humanity as His children and as His bride. We can’t possibly be more closely related to Him than sharing those family ties.
Like so many others, I have been a part of dysfunctional family, but I’ve also been blessed to be a part of a healthy family. I’ve experienced curses and blessings in my experiences with earthly family. And some of my family lives down the street, while others have moved away overseas. Hence, I think family is quite precarious.
Only God can be all that we need at all times, neither a child or a spouse can remain filling you with joy and peace in all the ways that you and I both need and want. A relationship with the Lord is the only relationship that is truly securely held in a singular or immutable position forever. Only God, the Heavenly Father, the Beloved One, is that family member whom we can attain and sustain an infinitely close relationship with.
He is always present, faithful, true, even when a child or spouse is not. He is the One who so everlastingly yearned to intimately exchange Life (Himself), which I believe reflects His nature of infinite being that is always giving, that He made a creation in His own image and likeness by imparting His very own Spirit into it. That creation is mankind.
If we believe on Him as our spiritual Father and Husband, I know that we will see His perfect, unchanging love, and be forever fearless of change. His love is the one thing that can satisfy our hearts desire for an eternity of life, love, joy, peace, and righteousness.
We must believe that God alone is the one who gives us our identity, purpose, value, and destiny. None of those elements of our lives are to be predicated upon, though they may be influenced by, our relationships with other human beings. Our earthly families are unable to give our lives meaning and fulfillment. We need the Lord. The trouble is that many fail to realize this, which is what makes life a nightmare filled with all kinds of insecurity and delusion.