I've been reading through the gospels with a friend for the last month and the other day we read Mark 3, where Jesus seemingly denounces His mother and brothers. my friend commented to me that it didn't make sense why Jesus would seem to disown his family who He cared about so much throughout the rest of the gospel.
I'd read those verses many times but never really stopped to ponder exactly why Jesus made that comment. the Jesus I know would never make a comment to put down his biological family. I read them again...
"then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. a crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, 'your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.'
'who are my mother and my brothers?' he asked.
then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “here are my mother and my brothers! whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.'"
it clicked. and with it the weight of what He was really saying stunned me.
He's not denouncing His blood family. He is claiming us. He's pronouncing us family.
it's not an entirely new perspective. we know He's our father and we're His kids. but sometimes when I hear that my mental image is of an overbearing father who doesn't really know his kids and who, while he does attempt to protect them, is pretty out of touch with their actual lives and hearts. I know He is not that father, but I think a lot of us get stuck there in our heads.
but this is something more. He's family. and it's not just that we are to see Him as our family. He sees us as His.
family are the people we do the nitty gritty of everyday life with. family are our support in the good times and the bad. they're the people to fall back on when everyone else leaves. family are the ones who know us best. family is our people. our tribe.
or at least that's what it should be. most of the time in this busted up world, it's not that. or at least not in a lasting way.
every single day in my job I see the results of busted up homes. I see the longterm effects of abandonment on young hearts that their parents never could have dreamt of. I deal with the triggers that bring it all back to them in the middle of ordinary days. I see the nightmares that make them relive the hell of a busted family every time sleep comes. I wipe the tears when they wonder why they weren't enough to be loved well.
and so when I read these verses, I read them with all the trauma and loneliness I see so many hearts go through, in mind. I read knowing that family often falls so far short of what it should. I read knowing that so, so many hearts down here don't feel like they have family. I read knowing the longing of this generation for family that loves us for who we really are inside.
and right here, He is saying, I am that. I am your family, and you are mine. family down here may have failed, but I won't. I want to do the everyday with you. I want to be there for all the highs and lows. I want to live the little moments with you. I want to do the good with you. I want to do the hard with you. I want to be the constant. the consistent.
it's been in the background of my mind all week, running a golden thread through everything I do. crazy early mornings and late nights, and He is family. quiet moments in the middle of the day when the weight of the world hits, and He is family. watching hearts suffer and not being able to take all the pain away and feeling that helplessness, and He is family.
and then this morning I continue reading and it's about the house built on the rock.
"therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."
not only is He family, but when we lean all our weight on Him... when we build our whole life on His shoulders, believing that He is family and He will never leave... when we do that? we are safe.
He is family. He is the Rock. He is our safety that never leaves. He is the one that embraces even when people let us down. He is family that remains intact when divorce splits homes. when break ups take people who were booming family. when all of life shifts and we're not sure what normal is anymore. He is. when change pulls the rug out from underneath us, the Rock is still there.
but it's more than just that. it's one thing to love people. to be there for them whenever they need it. to minister to their needs. but that doesn't make them family. family are the ones that not only do we love and support but who love and support us. it's a two way street. they're not just the people we seek to build up and reach out to. they are the people who come inside our inner circle and know our deepest heart. they are out tribe.
and He claims us as that. He says we are family. we are family to Him.
He is not just ours. we are His.
no matter what our earthly families are like... no matter what shakes and changes in our lives... one thing stays the same.
He is family. always.