The holidays are a time for family, friends, and festivities. But for many this time of year stirs feelings of loss and frustration; even depression. The pain of broken relationships, lost love, and regret hangs heavy in the air.
But… you must know that this was not God’s intention. It was never his desire for us to experience the pain and loss of broken fellowship. In the beginning God said in Genesis 1:26 (NASB)
…God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.
OUR image… we are an image, a reflection, a copy of God’s image and likeness. (Not that we will become God’s because we won’t but that we bear his image.) God exists in perfect relationship; Father, Son, and Spirit. In perfect unity, God created us to share his image and likeness. So what I am saying is that God created us to be in relationship. A part of a perfect family; the perfect family. Mankind was meant to experience fellowship – unbroken and perfect relationship.
BUT with the fall came broken relationships. Broken people experience broken relationships. We are all broken.
• Some of us have behaved in a way that has hurt those we love.
• Some of us have said things that have caused a rift.
• Some of us don’t know exactly why a relationship is broken it just is…
The end result of broken relationships is the same for you as it is for me – pain. We long for our relationships to be restored, for what is broken to be made whole but we feel so… so powerless to fix what feels beyond repair. I know the pain of broken relationships. I know what it is to experience a rift in the family that seems like a chasm that can not be bridged. I know what it is to think there is no way, humanly, this situation can ever be resolved.
I also know that one day what is broken will be made whole. God wants his family to experience unity. While we wait for that day we can pray for restoration. We can pray that as God’s image bearer he would change and soften our hearts and those we love. That he would tender our hearts to forgive while we recognize and take responsibility for our part. That he would allow us to see people as he sees them. We can pray that God would make a way.
While I wait patiently for God to work in me and in those I love, I have come to realize that I must die daily to myself so that God’s (whose image I bear) life can unfold and have its way in me. I am learning the importance of seeing myself “in relationship” with everyone; part of his family. The model of that relationship is servanthood which is founded in love and demonstrated in the perfect unity of the Trinity. I realize that I do not have the power to influence, control, or manipulate another human being into relationship and into returning love. They too must choose to die to themselves and allow God to live and love in them.
To those of you who are waking Thanksgiving morning to an empty house, or sitting at a table with one empty chair, or longing to see children or grandchildren please know this – God knows and he is at work. Know you are part of his family. He is with you. You can lean on him. You can tell him how you feel. You trust him. His timing is perfect. One day he will restore what is broken.
God loves you – I love you – We are family.