A tribute to family

Families are often the best and hardest things that happen to us. The Bible is full of them. Mixed families, whole families, blended families, broken families. Sons, fathers, sisters, wives, brothers. Families are some of the most powerful relationships in our lives, and relationships are some of the most powerful forces in this world. Peter says that the world will end and all the stuff we have will be burned down to nothing (fire insurance won’t help on that, you know). So in the end, what we have is relationships.

God is seen as a husband figure to Israel. Ephesians 5 illustrates His expectations for this relationship: love to the point of Christ’s sacrifice.

So why, He asks, did they discount Him?

“Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom?
Or have I no power to deliver?”

“Behold, the Lord God helps Me;
Who is he who condemns Me?
Behold, they will all wear out like a garment;
The moth will eat them.
10 Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”

God is powerful! He is there to help us. Need an illustration? God told the Israelites to look to the rock, the quarry they came from. This is such an interesting picture, to look to your origins. It is counter-intuitive to me. I tend to think that the best place to look is ahead, at the most forward thinkers of society. But by looking back, Israel could see how God started out by picking a random guy to be the father of a nation. And that random guy messed up, but he continued following God. And so began Israel. Who can I look back to? My spiritual mentors and guides. The leaders of churches around me. Christians throughout the centuries. Bible heroes who were really just normal folks.

The idea of a quarry is also interesting in that it carries out the idea of our lives as rocks. Peter uses the image of a spiritual building of a new kind of temple, made up of the believers in the church. That is another kind of family, not defined by physical boundaries.

This chapter is full of encouragement to stop looking at a downward spiral, and look to God, Maker, Father, Comforter.

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies
And of the son of man who is made like grass,
13 That you have forgotten the Lord your Maker,
Who stretched out the heavens
And laid the foundations of the earth,”

Never forget who God is, and what He has done, and who He says you are.

God, so often it feels like I have to carry on by myself because I do not want to let other people into my burdens, and they get heavier and heavier. But God, You are my Father, the strongest relationship I can enjoy. And so please help me to give up the control I like to seize, and enjoy the peace You give. Please help me to enjoy the relationships You have built into life, through the Church and others. You made us to be in relationship with others, and that reflects back to glorify You. So please help me enjoy authentic relationships. Thank You for family. Amen.

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