First Thoughts – Belonging to the family

Everyone wants to belong. To feel as though you don’t belong is embarrassing, humiliating, and over time can become devastating. When conversations about family arise in Christian circles, some people feel excluded if they aren’t married, have 2.5 kids, and drive a minivan!

God’s word declares an absolute commitment and value of ensuring that nobody stands alone and everyone knows they belong. Father to the fatherless,
defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. (Psalm 68:5,6)

Jesus further explains that the belonging we all need expands beyond our immediate family when He said, “Anyone who does the will of my Father in
heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Jesus doesn’t deny the importance of the nuclear family. He is helping us understand that family isn’t just physical; it’s spiritual. Our extended family includes anyone who seeks to follow God our Father.

Heeding the call of Jesus is to bring us all together as one big family through God’s love and grace is vital at any time but especially today. Amid this pandemic
season, when isolation and polarizing issues are tearing us apart, Crossroads is working hard to grow in providing opportunities for connection, relationship and support to unite the family of God.

There is an incredible strength that comes to us individually and corporately when we know that others are standing with us like family. We see countless examples in the Bible of ordinary people empowered to do extraordinary things when they know that they are not alone. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced the furnace because they stood
firm together and knew that God stood with them. Gideon faced overwhelming odds but, through courageous obedience to the leading of the Spirit, emerged victorious, buoyed by the strength of the loyal supporters surrounding him.

While the challenges and obstacles that we face today may be different than those we read in the Bible, the pathway to overcoming each challenge is the same—united together as a family through faith.