I don’t have a very large family. Granted, my extended family is pretty big. I have a lot of second and third cousins–fourth cousins now. But as far as immediate family, there aren’t a lot of us. I have my brother. And I have four first cousins. Two uncles. Two aunts. Two grandparents. My mom and dad, of course.
I’ve worked with people who are one of ten children. And I’ve met people with ten children. But even having five siblings is hard to wrap my head around. I can just imagine the chaos that many kids in one house has to result in.
So what I’m very interested to see is what life is going to be like when we all get to heaven. Because, let’s face it–we’re all family. If you believe in Christ, that makes you my brother or my sister. And when we all get to heaven, God’s going to have a huge house full of kids. Billions of them. Trillions. Probably some uncountable number–however many people have trusted either that Christ would come or that Christ did come.
Trusting in Christ makes us family. That’s what today’s verse is about.
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
God chose the Jewish people to be His people when Abraham took that leap of faith and followed God and left his home. And they are still His chosen people. But after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, He instructed the disciples to leave the borders of Israel and Judea, to take the Gospel to all corners of the world. And that’s how we un-Jewish folks came to be adopted into God’s family.
I know that I’ve blogged about this before, but there is one part of every mission’s trip I’ve ever taken that always strikes me. I love mission’s trips. I love serving. I love working. I love encouraging people. But if I had to narrow every trip I’ve taken down to one favorite part–it would be meeting completely strangers and knowing that we’re family because they believe in Jesus too.
I have a brother in a little village in Mexico called Las Hormigas. I can’t remember his real name, but we called him the “Lightning Man” because he’d been struck by lightning like six times.
I have a sister in a little village in the mountains of Mexico called Yiposo. Her name is Angelica, and she let me and a bunch of other girls stay in her log house while we were helping to build an addition onto their church. She didn’t speak any English, and I only spoke a little Spanish, but I was always the first one up so I would sit at her table and help her chop vegetables for breakfast every morning.
I have little brothers and sisters in ex-guerilla villages in Peten, Guatemala, who I taught how to act. And now I know I have Kekchi (or more officially now Q’eqchi) brothers and sisters all over the jungle in dozens of little villages that have no roads to reach them.
I have a brother and a sister in Botswana, Taffy and Gracious Chifamuna and their beautiful children. I’ve never met Taffy face to face, but we’ve been communicating with each other via mail and e-mail since I was in seventh grade.
And I know there are family members all across the planet that I have prayed for repeatedly, even though they don’t know I know anything about them. Nationals in Papua New Guinea, in Japan, in China, in Malaysia, in Iraq, in Scotland.
I have family all over the world. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve never met them in person. All I need to know is that they love Christ, and that makes us closer than blood can bring us. We’re all members of God’s family through Christ, and if that doesn’t bring you to tears, I don’t know what else will. Because it’s so easy in our crazy busy age of technology to feel alone. It doesn’t make sense because we’re more connected now than we ever were, but even with all of our Facebooking and our blogging and our social networking, we still feel more isolated than ever.
But when I feel alone, all I have to do is remember how many brothers and sisters I have. And that they’re going through the same things I am. And that we’re all relying on God every day for every breath and every step. And I can’t wait for the day when I get to meet everyone, and then we’ll all get to spend eternity with God and with Christ. But until then, I pray for them, and I know they pray for me.
What else is family for?