Love from God; demonstrated through family
As I recall certain moments in which my heart was so full of love, demonstrated through and by my earthly biological family, I now realize I was actually experiencing God’s love, through what is known as “common grace”. The grand metanarrative within all lives is God revealing Himself through creation and Biblical revelation. All people know God through the revelation of His creation and their consciences reveal “right from wrong” which only comes from our Heavenly Father who is holy. It is when we stop “suppressing the truth” and repent of our sins, turning to Jesus as Lord and God that we begin to experience true love. (Rom. 1 -3)
Recalling specific cherished memories experiencing love from and for family, is evidence, that our Triune God blesses us with our earthly family, to enable us to recognize and cherish God’s unwarranted, immutable, unconditional, immeasurable, perfect love. Our love for God, obeying the first greatest commandment “Love thy God”, and the second greatest commandment “love thy neighbor” expands our family to include “spiritual brothers and sisters” for all eternity. Our spiritual family is those who have been “called”-before God created the universe, who will worship Jesus Christ as Lord, quickened by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 10:9)
Our spiritual family is every believer of the Messiah, throughout history, the “visible and invisible” church, who worship Jesus as Savior, Redeemer and Lord God-who rescued them from their sins. What a magnificent and glorious thought, such love! Our merciful God blesses us with mysterious divine bonds which provide connectedness with our “spiritual” family, even though we are not biologically related.
When God brings us together through providence, we inexplicably feel an instant love and desire to be with one another, sharing our experiences of His sovereign will, also yearning to worship our Lord God in unity. We desire to share the Gospel with the lost, so they too may become part of God’s designed family, knowing Jesus as Lord while worshipping Him in glory. Though Heaven is described in the Bible, none of us know how utterly glorious it will be until we are there, but we have glimpses through Scripture and our experiences.
On a personal note, I wish to illustrate my point, through a story from my childhood. Having been born into a family with ten children, it was our common routine to start and end the day, completing chores together. As a little girl, on a early winter morning, my siblings were so eager and excited to see the deep snow which accumulated on the ground, that they burst outside, instead of coming into the kitchen to begin the morning routine with our mother. They began to play in the snow, building snowmen, snow-forts, and gleefully made snow angels. My mother invited me to help her in the kitchen with our daily preparations. I cherished her warm invitation. Wondering what my brothers and sisters were doing, I etched some ice from the window on the door, to peek and watch their playful delight. However, my mother’s invitation was inexplicably more appealing to me. The kitchen was already warm and filling with the familiar aromas of fresh yeast-bread rising and coffee brewing. She bent down and placed over my head my red and white polka-dotted apron and at that moment when I turned around to finish making the bow tighter, she suddenly and ever so gently placed her soft hands on my face, cupping my cheeks ever so delicately. As I looked into her eyes, I saw a tender and loving sparkle in her bright blue eyes, instantly warming my heart. She looked into my eyes for what seemed a very long time, then with a smile, said “Darling, I hope you know how much I love you, I am so blessed to have daughter, who enjoys these things”. At the end of her words she kissed my forehead, patting my cheeks with motherly encouragement. She knew how to encourage each of us, in specific ways.
But, as I pondered her loving words, I felt as if she spoke something almost sacred, as if she had spoken something privately sent from heaven. Her voice sounded similar to when she read the Bible to us, each day. I yearned for that deep, and seemingly divine connection to extend forever. But, quickly, she grabbed my step-stool and placed it near the counter, so I could begin rolling out the dough for our cinnamon rolls, as she efficiently and joyfully continued working. As I sprinkled the sugar and cinnamon filling onto the dough, rolling neatly then cutting the cinnamon rolls to place in the large glass baking pans, my mother looked at my finished work and gave an approving smile. She was busy cooking bacon, sausage and eggs in her cast iron pan, singing her favorite hymns. She had an amazing feminine and melodic voice, which brought joy to my heart. I treasured hearing the words which described Jesus and our Heavenly Father. The kitchen was filled with a mixture of delicious aromas of cinnamon, bacon, coffee, and hot cocoa. How I loved the familiarity and creativity of all things which my mother prepared in that kitchen. But what I especially loved above all else, was just being with her. Now as an adult, what I cherish more deeply is my mother’s evident godly love, displayed through her hard sacrificial labor, gentle sweet gestures and intentional efforts for her children to know Jesus Christ as Lord.
Another experience, I recall ever so clearly, but as a mother myself, was a day I was packing for our annual “girls’ pre-Christmas weekend”, with my five year old daughter. As I was neatly placing my daughter’s clothing into our shared small overnight suitcase, she was giddy with excitement to help me pack, and quickly added her Bible and dolly into the suitcase, cheerfully saying “thank you mama, I love you!” As she lifted her red wool coat, for me to help her get into and button, thrilled with excitement about our trip, said “hurry mama, let’s get going!” while she swung her fluffy pink scarf around her neck.
Both ready and eager to go, we loaded the car and proceeded on our trip. To our surprise it began to snow! It was a light snowfall, yet with the unusually large airy snowflakes which float and dance ever so delicately about in the air, which also tend to accumulate all too quickly. I was a bit concerned seeing the snow rapidly covering the roads, and didn’t want my daughter to get nervous. I had to slow down significantly, which she immediately noticed and queried “why are you going so slow mama?” I told her we needed to be safe, since snow is slippery and unpredictable. Content with my answer she joyfully reached to turn up the volume of her favorite Christian children’s hymns. As I glanced at my daughter who was softly singing the words, with such sweet innocence, my heart swelled with love for her.
A few hours later when we arrived at our destination, I attempted to pull my car up our friend’s driveway, but we were hindered by the large snow banks from the country snow plows. We had to park fairly far from her house on the country street. I told my daughter to wait for me to get out of the car first, so I could help her get out safely. As she slid down to the ground, I held onto her hands, firmly, but gently assisting her to the slippery surface. I quickly knelt down onto the cold icy snow, and began re-buttoning her coat. When I looked at her face to see if she was getting cold, I was a bit startled to see that she was looking intently into my eyes, smiling. Her hazel eyes sparkled with a gleam and twinkle. I was mesmerized by her small angelic face; porcelain skin, tiny nose dotted with seven freckles, framed by her dark brown hair which was now elegantly laced with a snowflake “veil”. Realizing how deeply I loved her, I recognized that “simple” moment was a gift given by God. A bit emotional, my voice caught, when I said, “Do you know that I love you sweet little pumpkin?!” She threw her arms around my neck so tightly, as my eyes welled up with tears of gratitude to God. Noticing my tears she asked, “mama, are those happy tears?” I said “you know they are those special “mama love tears” for you, right sweetie?” Smiling, she wiped my eyes with her tiny mitten hands and energetically nodded.
We got our suitcase and made our way through the deep snow drifts up the driveway. Immediately my mind recalled “that” special day in the kitchen with my mother. Why? I suppose it was God reminding me that He is the “Giver” of all things, and a reminder to never take for granted the pure, divine blessings of family. At that moment I realized how vitally important my role was as her earthly mother; to help her know Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord.
Now a woman, my daughter has grown up hearing then reading the Bible daily. She memorized numerous hymn songs, was “catechized” to help her understand the foundational biblical redemption story and theologies. She experienced a solid foundation of attending church, understanding the gift of our “universal spiritual family” . That day so long ago, I praised God, thanking Him for that sacred time He had blessed me to enjoy, along with thousands of special moments He designed for us to experience, moments which are glimpses into heaven. God’s presence, grace and perfect holy love are made manifest through our families.
Through years of daily Biblical study, every Lord’s’ Day filled with good expository preaching, has brought me to a deeper understanding of the importance of family, both types, biological and spiritual. Our divine Creator is the only One who we can attribute the blessing of family. Whereby we are brought to a deeper reverence, awe, gratitude and love for God, for such great blessings. These blessings give each of us the opportunity to serve and obey Him as we mature in our walk.
As I thank God for my grandparents, parents, extended family, siblings, husband and daughter, for demonstrating His amazing love and grace, by blessing me with an extraordinary family, I thank Him daily, for the daily addition of global brothers and sisters who are responding to the Holy Spirit who has quickened their heart to love and worship Jesus Christ after hearing the Gospel.
As Jesus commanded, and as we read from Matthew 28: 19, 20- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” At all costs, and regardless of any type of sacrifice on our part, even persecution unto death, we must obey our God’s command, and share the “Good News”. And when we do so, we will be filled with inexplicable joy, knowing we are obeying our Triune God, partaking in building His kingdom, thus, expanding our spiritual family.
Remarkably, God blesses us with a supreme elation, as we open God’s Word, and share the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ as Lord. Though God does not need our help, He generously grants us the joy of sharing in His divine redemptive plan. Recognizing we do not deserve such a great gift, we are honored to obey Him. In some instances we may witness the Holy Spirit divinely opening another’s spiritual eyes from darkness, damned to eternal wrath, to the eternal light and truth while embracing the Gospel, becoming a child of God’s family! If we do not see a response, we know we have given the greatest gift of love, having sown the “seeds”, knowing the Holy Spirit is the One who will soften a hard rebellious heart, miraculously. Each and every time we proclaim the Gospel we are loving our “neighbor”, proclaiming the Gospel is surely the utmost highest insurmountable expression of love for others and at the same time the greatest privilege God blesses us to participate in.
As we prayerfully ask for wisdom, discernment and love to humbly proclaim Jesus, the Holy Spirit will guide our words, never fear. It is my prayer that all Christians’ pray, and ask for a deeper desire to love God, His Word, to study it daily, obeying Scripture, turning from the ever-increasing distractions of this world, while zealously obeying the “Great Commission”, expanding God’s spiritual family! (Rom. 10:14-17)
May God bless you. Amen.