Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” Genesis 21:6-7
As I write this we are about four weeks away from the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated in the United States. And already I’ve heard from a few anxious friends concerned about gathering with family. To be fair, they are all worried about their spouse’s family! But what makes holidays potentially stressful – dealing with the various personalities and their idiosyncrasies – is also what brings us such joy. Our families.
When Sarah was gifted a child in her advanced age the Bible doesn’t talk about all her worries. Although I could imagine there might have been a few. Instead, what the focus is on is laughter and joy. God’s creation of man included the eventual creation of family. And there’s something about family that always feels so different than friendships. We are bonded by some mysterious force from the heavens. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly in our families stays with us forever unlike a forgotten friend.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
The command to honor our parents is the first command telling us to do something for another human being. It stands to reason that God puts family pretty high up on his list. And while there are those whose parents have made honoring them difficult due terrible sin and lack of repentance, for so many of us we must remember God’s love for family and how He wants us to love them.
I love my whole family, those of blood and those my rolling stone has picked up along the way. Some I must work harder to obey the command, while others it comes easily. I thank God for all of them — because I have benefitted from them all while in this crazy, mysterious union.