Got family problems? Arguing with your brothers and/or sisters? Your kids, mom, dad, uncle, or …? Many people have been hurt over the years by family strife. Siblings in particular may have had their share of bickering, being impatient with each other, saying mean or careless things, and acting in ways that exclude. Sometimes separations have lasted for decades.
But those kinds of experiences can prompt us to look for a broader sense of family. A book published some decades ago, "The Family of Man" still provides an inspiring promise, illustrating universal brotherhood through its collection of photographs of people from many parts of the world as they express kindness to one another in various ways. A psalm in the Bible also promises, "God setteth the solitary in families" (68:6).
A God who can do that is the perfect Parent, and we are the children in His one big loving family. God, who is both Father and Mother, loves every child distinctly, completely. This "head of the household" has all the resources to provide each of us with anything we could ever need, including the help or friendship of the right person at the right time.
The woman who founded this newspaper said this about a wider understanding of God's family: "This human sense of Deity yields to the divine sense, even as the material sense of personality yields to the incorporeal sense of God and man as the infinite Principle and infinite idea, – as one Father with His universal family, held in the gospel of Love" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pp. 576-577).
We can meet members of that "universal family" again and again on our life journey. This ever-widening concept of family – with God at the head of the table, serving up only the best, expressing His-Her absolute joy and delight over each of us – can help, comfort, and carry us through tough situations. You may find how this loving God always manages to send just the right individual – "brother" or "sister" – at just the right time.
Not long ago a woman proved this when she was in a very bad car accident. When she climbed out of the car, a man was standing there. She walked into his arms and said, "God is my Life! God is my Life!" He laughed out loud! He may have simply been happy to see her walk out of that car. She never saw him again, but she won't forget his kindness – nor that of the emergency room doctor and nurses, who respected her decision to rely on prayer instead of the strong prescription they gave her to help her through the shock and severe pain they predicted. The cuts and bruises healed rapidly, and there was only minor pain.
It just wasn't logical to her that the God who had delivered her from the accident – and even sent her that man to hold her in his arms until help came – would then walk off and leave her to deal with the aftermath. Her overwhelming sentiment was gratitude – especially for the members of the ready-made "family" who helped her each step of the way.
But there's more. She received a beautiful basket of fruit from her husband's half-sister and her daughter. That meant a lot, especially because her husband had passed away a couple of years ago, and although he'd been loyal to his family, they'd never struck her as particularly close. Now there they were, expressing their love and concern.
God does indeed set "the solitary in families." We're all members of "His universal family, held in the gospel of Love."
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed;
but my kindness
shall not depart from thee,
neither shall the covenant
of my peace be removed,
saith the Lord
that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10