Have you ever heard a husband, wife, dad, mom or grandparent make the statement, "Because that's what families do?" This comment usually precedes an act of sacrifice, unconditional love, or an outpouring of grace to another family member. It's stated with no fanfare in a very matter of fact manner and speaks to the unwavering love and commitment that is hard-wired into the relationships of a family. While it doesn't always happen, it is the way God designed it to be.
I have a friend who has been battling brain cancer for years. He has courageously fought this relentless foe over and over again. His love for God and his family compels him to never give up. Yet behind his daily fight for life is another person who is equally as courageous—his wife. She not only cares for her husband day and night—but she also tends to the household needs and homeschools their school-aged daughter. Through all the chemo, radiation, and doctor appointments, she is by his side fighting for him and her family. His battle for life and her enduring care for him is nothing less than heroic. Yet that is precisely the way God intended marriage to be—a lifelong commitment and sacrificial love that transcends the trials of life. It is a regardless type of love that knows no boundaries. Because that's what families do.
Some years ago, I witnessed a similar act between a son and his aging mother. When his mother could no longer care for herself—the son and his wife restructured their lives and took care of her. It was a reversal of roles in which he now cooked, bathed, clothed, and cared for this amazing woman that had once done the same things for him years before when he was a little boy. If asked why he and his wife did this, the son, who is my father, would simply reply, "She's my mom. That's what families do."
God created the institution of the family when He took the rib of man and fashioned it into a woman—stating that it was not good for man to be alone.
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
"This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man."
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:21-24)
Yet sadly, I know that many people have not experienced the blessing of a family. Rather than receive the love or loyalty from a parent, they have been the recipients of just the opposite. In my years in ministry, I've seen the lasting hurt and generational damage that can take place when things don't go as they should in one's home. Rather than a place of sanctuary and protection, it becomes a house of abuse and condemnation. As Christians, we need to be there for each other and never forget the grace that God poured out for us through His Son. In this way, God set the example for us, and we have an awesome opportunity to live out this model of love in our own homes and communities.
I pray you've encountered first-hand a "that's what families do" moment. It's a beautiful thing to experience—the love and loyalty of a parent, sibling, or grandparent. For those of us who have, we need to be mindful that not everyone is so blessed. It is our calling in Christ to go beyond our own homes to make sure our communities and world know the unstoppable power of a family anchored to God and each other. As a husband and a father, it's one of my highest life priorities. Because that's what families do.