Have you ever heard a husband, wife, dad, mom, or grandparent say, "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 without 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 families don't always embrace the power of God's love within their homes, it is the way our Creator designed it to be. And lived out well, the family unit is one of the most potent forces known to humanity.
I had a friend who battled brain cancer for over a decade. He courageously fought this relentless adversary over and over again. His love for God and his family compelled him never to give up. Behind his daily fight for life was another equally courageous person—his wife. She not only cared for her husband day and night, but she also tended to the household needs and homeschooled their school-aged daughter. She was by his side through chemo, radiation, surgeries, and countless doctor appointments, fighting for him and her family. His battle for life and her enduring care for him was nothing less than pure heroism. And that is precisely how God intended marriages and families to function—a lifelong commitment of sacrificial love that transcends the trials of life. It is a type of love that knows no boundaries and never gives up when the going gets tough.
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 reply, "She is my mom. That's what families do."
Our Lord wired us to be there for each other, and it's part of who we are. God created us to live and thrive within relationships. Foremost, with Him and then with others. The institutions of marriage and family are at the epicenter of this relational intimacy, and the marital bond exemplifies this like no other relationship.
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)
Out of this intimate oneness, children are created. Wow! It is both breathtaking and beautiful. What parent hasn't stared in awe at his or her little baby—made in God's image who also shares the likeness of the father and mother? Is there any wonder why family relationships can be so deeply caring and connected?
Sadly, I know that many people have not experienced the blessing of a caring family. Rather than receiving love or loyalty from a spouse or a parent, they have been the recipients of the opposite. In my years in ministry, I've seen the lasting hurt and generational damage that can take place when things do not 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, Jesus Christ.
In this way, God set the example for us, and we have an incredible opportunity to live out this model of love in our own homes and communities. I am convinced now more than ever that we can change the world if we embrace God's love within our homes—knowing that it will not stop there.
I pray you've encountered first-hand a "that's what families do" moment. It's a beautiful thing to experience—the relentless love and loyalty of a spouse, 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 homes to ensure 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. I pray it is yours as well.