Here at Kanakuk, we witness countless moments of joy every summer, but perhaps the sweetest moment occurs when Kampers and families reunite at the end of a term! We love watching the smiles, hugs, laughs and sometimes even happy tears shared between parents, children, siblings and grandparents when they see one another after time apart. Witnessing this joy reminds us of why God gave us family!
From the beginning, God had a special plan for family. He binds us together so we can encourage and build each other up, while also helping one another grow in faith. Many of our Kampers testify that it is their families who offer encouragement and support, even when the rest of the world doesn’t.
God created families with His own unconditional love for us as His sons and daughters in mind. Have you ever witnessed a new mom and dad peering into the eyes of an innocent newborn for the first time? Could you feel the joy as they experienced deep and unconditional love like they have never known? That is only a small glimpse of how God looks at us as His children and members of his family! As we grow, our earthly family can reflect His unending love in a very tangible way. Often, the word family represents a safe place where we can learn, ask questions, and feel support when times are hard. It’s also a place to feel honored and celebrated when great things happen.
For some, earthly family can indeed be a place of heartache instead of comfort. But we can draw hope from that fact that, no matter our family situation, God is our good, good father. His invitation to join the family is always open! When we accept that invitation, we are adopted as sons and daughters in Christ and experience a relentless love that is unlike any other we’ve ever known. 1 John 3:1 says, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.” It’s that perfect love of our Father in Heaven that allows us to be born again into his family through faith in His only begotten son’s sacrifice, so we can spend forever with Him!
Even when we make mistakes, God bestows fatherly love upon us as His children. In Luke 15, Jesus shares the story of the prodigal son who returns to his father after abandoning his family and living a dishonorable lifestyle for many, many years. His dad unexpectedly runs to him and hugs him upon his return. Instead of resenting and rejecting his son who caused him great heartache, the father in Jesus’s story rejoices because his son who he loves has returned. This is the unconditional way God loves us!
In addition to receiving Christ’s love, we get to show that love to one another as brothers and sisters bound by the blood of Christ, even if not by blood here on earth. God desires His children to live in harmony and spread the unique, Christ-like love to those all around us. One of the greatest ways we can share God’s love for others is to value others as more important than ourselves.
Along with descriptions of God’s fatherly love, the Bible also frequently mentions loving others with “brotherly” love (Romans 12:9-10). God references the kind of love between siblings to illustrate how we should love other believers in the body of Christ, which is our spiritual family. He doesn’t say “friendly” love. God uses the unique bond between family members to show us how we should treat everyone around us and highlight the importance of family, especially to us as Christians.
When we are born, it’s our family that first loves and takes care of us, teaching us how to exist in the world. It’s also our families that give us opportunity to carry out some of God’s most important commandments—honoring our parents and loving others with brotherly love. God created families to support each other and hold one another to the highest standard, and we love watching as families grow together in the Lord at Kamp and at home.