Recently my family and I visited my brother out of state. It was the first time I visited him in a few years, and after leaving, I had a sadness inside. Although we aren’t very close, and he does not seem to practice the faith like the rest of us do, there is a yearning for unity of family that I desired within.
Not just physical and emotional unity, but also spiritual.
Once children are grown, many families nowadays are scattered across geographic locations. Many families also have disunity when it comes to faith, or emotional disunity from past disagreements, sins, and wounds. Not all may still practice the faith, or practice it in the same way.
As a result, I wonder if many families feel similarly -- if there is a persistent ache for unity (physically, emotionally and spiritually) and being together as we once were.
When I reflected on this, I realized that there are a number of Scriptures that point to the fact that there will be disunity in the family for those who follow Christ: Prodigal children, envious siblings, divided relatives, and leaving mother/father/brother/children. Perhaps this is an inevitable part of “the way” we must embrace as followers. Jesus never promised easy family life or unity of the family unit.
But I also think there’s a more hopeful angle. The disunity we inevitably feel here on Earth with our families points to our desire for heaven and ultimate eternal unity with those we love and God. This is our hope, a hope we can cling to in our ache for family unity here on Earth as we help and pray for our family members in their journey with God.
If you’re aching for family unity, may this be your hope.