For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being.

Ephesians 3: 14-16

 

Families take on many forms; what is the norm or traditional in one society is odd in another, and those normative conventions change over time, too. Some of us have very strong connections to large extended families, some have very small immediate ones that we are close to, and others don’t have a need to exchange Christmas cards with even one blood relative. Each person has a story that involves how we got to where we are, and that story always involves a long chain of people that we can identify as family.

 

God’s view of this aspect of existence seems to be just a bit different. His definition of family is a lot less changeable and much more consistent than ours. The Lord considers all people to be His family, and He doesn’t ever categorize any of us as people that He doesn’t want to be close to, either. He goes looking for us when we are distant, and He travels to the farthest reaches of the planet to find us. God willingly searches the very depths of our souls to find us when we are hiding in the darkness of fear, denial, and separation. God has given us His Spirit to be with and in everyone who enters into relationship with Him so that we won’t ever be alone and so that we will never be on our own, either. He leaves the greatest of celebrations to travel to the most miserable places on the earth in order to comfort, strengthen, and restore any one of us who is lost.

 

The Creator’s design for family is much bigger and far greater than what we can imagine from our earth bound viewpoint. It is in and through His family that He wants us to find the strength, encouragement, and love that we need in order to thrive in this life. We are connected to people through the Spirit of Christ. He brings everyone who opens his heart to Him into a family that has an eternal focus and an enormous family tree that runs from Adam and Eve all the way to the last person that will be born. I want to give thanks to God for this family and for each and every person who is a part of it, and I praise God for giving me the strength and the encouragement that comes from being surrounded by such a great array of people who are my own true relatives.