Mary and I have moved from having just two people in our home one day to having eleven the following day. You can just imagine the difference this has made to the food bill and the anticipated water bill! Yet, we would have it no other way. My eighty-three year old dad, who hates traveling, came up from Jamaica. Our two daughters, their spouses and four grandchildren came across from the United Kingdom. This is the first time that my dad is seeing his great grandchildren and he is having a wonderful time with them. It’s the first time that I am seeing my two grandchildren who were born earlier this year.
Our house is alive with various human sounds – the laughter of adults, crying babies, screaming children playing hide and seek or some other game. While their parents are telling the children to be quiet and to calm down, Mary and I are just happy to have our home filled with sounds other than our own. I often say to the parents, “Let the children make as much noise as they want to.” It’s their home and we love the sounds they make.
Mealtime is very special. Last Sabbath I turned down a couple lunch invitations just to be able to have lunch with my family and luxuriate in the joy of having four generations sitting at the dining table. Our son and his wife are absent, due to work commitment back in the UK, but they are represented by their lively eight year-old daughter, our eldest grandchild.
Our family being here reminds me of how important family is and how God has made us to find fulfillment in community and in interaction with others. It also helps me to appreciate God’s purpose in creating and redeeming us. It seems that just as Mary and I enjoy having our family with us and find immense fulfillment in the experience, God also delights in surrounding Himself with created beings and seeing them enjoy the many beautiful things that He has made. He loves to see His children wonder at the immensity and complexity of the universe, admire the delicacy and beauty of a rose, and stand in awe of the majesty of the mountains. Most of all, He loves to just spend time with us and just ‘hang out’ with His children.
God is a relational being. He finds pleasure in community – with the other members of the Trinity and also with created beings such as us. He made us in His image that He could love us and have a relationship with us. What greater motive could there be! Little wonder then that when our first parents messed things up, God did not abandon us but chose to do everything possible to ‘bring us back home,’ including giving up His son to bear our punishment. The love that we have for our families pale into insignificance compared to the love that God has for His family. “… God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). When we were hostile to Him and cared little about Him, God sent His Son to die for us because He considered us important. He loved us and wanted us back home.
It will be a time of glorious celebration for many when Christ returns, not just for those who are saved but for God Himself, who will look around at His children, from every generation since Adam, and beam with joy that His children are home with Him at last. Whatever you are going through, remember that your heavenly Father sees, knows and cares, that he loves you and is there for you, as you are there for those you love.