The body of Christ is our eternal family. Fellow believers are our brothers and sisters in Christ, members with Christ. It’s a gift of great magnitude when our human family overlaps with our believing family. The capacity for deep fellowship exists when family members are also brothers and sisters in Christ.
I am blessed with amazing aunts and uncles on both sides of my family. This group of ten people has always had my back, as did the next older generation. It was a blessing to grow up with these men and women surrounding me, close at hand and often visited. They cheered me on, encouraged me, and impressed upon me the long view of life.
Then tragedy struck.
The Flood of 1993 changed the landscape, moved us apart, and restructured our world. All its resulting financial implications, coupled with one family calamity after another, moved us far, far away and left us bankrupt.
No traveling. No resources. Family lost. Communication from only a distance. Visits came abruptly to an end.
If you aren’t aware of the extreme value of your family, you certainly are after you’re wrenched away from them. I’m still striving to understand God’s purposes for this breach.
These events transformed us. We were stripped of our legalistic hypocrisy, and we now have real growing faith. We rely more on one another, and my husband and I came to rely to Jesus more in our exile.
Maybe we had to be in the desert (literally) for that growth to occur.
We were tested, and, as everything fell apart, we were alone facing God, highlighting our yearning need for him and his fellowship. The Lord blessed all throughout the losses, keeping us aware of his presence and continually moving us forward.
God is good, he works all things together for our good, and he is far wiser than we. It is what it is, and it was and still is for our good.
When I recently returned to see part of my extended family after the death of an uncle, I had my mind entirely focused on uplifting my aunt and cousins in any way I could. That was my focus.
Therefore, the circumstances God orchestrated surprised me. He resurfaced wounds that needed the balm of my Christian family member’s words and actions. I hadn’t recognized any wounds needed more healing, but my own inner landscape is often a mystery to me.
Somehow, through questions asked and topics discussed, some of my deepest hurts and most painful memories were brought to light. I didn’t choose the topic, and I didn’t pose the questions. I certainly had no plan to discuss any of that, but all of a sudden there was laid bare something I didn’t realize still needed a dose of medicinal balm.
In small bits in several conversation, I spoke, they listened, and they said the soothing words I needed to hear. Bam! That was it. Then on to the business at hand of warm fellowship, comforting in death, and celebrating my uncle’s life.
The experience showed me the goodness of God.
He knew I needed those brief exchanges, those few words, that sympathy. I had gone not expecting anything of the sort to occur. I had gone to minister. But there they were, ministering to me. And I came away hopeful and aware of God’s love for me to orchestrate such conversations. God is kind.
These types of “coincidences” show God’s loving hand, even when we think we’re fine. He is the one who sanctifies, and he truly has our best in mind. He continues to work all things together for our good.
As Thanksgiving draws near, consider the blessings of family, of the household of believers, and of the small and kind orchestrations God prepares that explode into our lives by his sovereign hand.