God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number…” (Genesis 1: 28)
I have never had children of my own. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to, the timing was just never quite right. At times I have really wanted to start a family. As I was preparing to write this post and contemplated the question of why God wanted a family, I asked myself ‘why did I want a family?’ In answering that question I feel I have tapped into God’s heartbeat on the matter of why He wanted a family.
This might sound odd, but a big part of the reason I wanted to have a family of my own was to capture ‘myself’ so to speak. I really can’t explain it, it’s very hard to put into words but there’s something down deep inside of me that would give anything to see my reflection in my own child. It’s a desire to somehow pass my life on and into another, one that belongs to me and is part of me, that comes from me.
You know the fuss we all make over a baby saying “Oh, he looks like you!” The thought that a child would have my looks or my personality, I think is one of the most magical things in life. I would love to think that in years to come a distant relative would meet my granddaughter on the street and in her face, would recognise me, long after I’m gone. The idea that I would be recognizable in either her mannerisms or her giggle, her looks or her smile, somehow connects me with her forever and there’s just something about that that really touches my heart and that I find so beautiful. I would be in her and she would be in me. Even as I imagine this as I write, I am smiling at the thought of it. But does any of this ring a bell with you?
I would want all the things that I consider good in me to be imparted to my own child. I would want my Christian faith, my values, my joys and desires, my personality, my expressions and even my looks to live on in my offspring. For some reason that I cannot explain I would want to create others in my likeness. They would be kind of my own kind. Selah. And growing up in my love, they would love me in a way that no-one else could, because they would love me back with my own love that is in them. Although it might sound like vanity, it’s really not. It’s actually a desire that comes from a great sense of love. I just don’t know how else to put it.
There were times in my single life and married life, when I felt a powerful and almost overwhelming yearning type of love welling up inside of me that I innately knew was meant to give birth to a child. I felt I would burst. Without being fulfilled this desire becomes a deep, insatiable need.
I often regret that my dad left this earth without ever having grandchildren, for this very reason. It’s as though my dad’s expression, his mannerisms, his sense of humour, his quirky ways, his laugh, his singing talents all ended with me and my sister. It’s like Dad’s line is ended with us and he won’t live on anymore in this most incredible way that God designed when He said to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. I find that sad.
God in His grace however, fulfills this need in me that cannot be met this way, but I understand the sense that many have of that need to have a child – to create a family. It is something almost every woman would relate to at some point in her life and perhaps almost every man. I certainly understand it as a woman who will never give birth. It runs so deep that in fact at times, it can actually hurt. This makes me wonder, is this how it was for God, in the beginning?
As I write this, I am glad to relate to that sense of need for children and a family because it gives me a tiny glimpse into God’s need for His family. That’s right, God’s need. I see that His plan to make a family was much more than just a good idea or something to do on a rainy day. I see that it ran even far deeper than a dream or a burning desire. I see now, that in God’s heart of hearts, to have a family was a deep, paternal, primal need that had to be fulfilled or He would burst at the seams!
So, imagine before creation, time and space…there’s God in His fullness – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are eternally pouring out their lives for one another. God the Father has His only begotten Son into whom He is pouring all of His love through His Spirit whom they both share. God the Son is, in return, pouring His love back to the Father through His Spirit whom they both share. The three members of the Godhead are giving themselves to one another constantly. They exemplify and are the origin of all the ‘one-another’s’ we read of in the New Testament. They are preferring one another, giving up their lives for one another, they are considering one another, they are being kind and patient with one another – they are loving one another over and over and over and over. God as Three-in-One is loving one another endlessly.
Unable to contain and restrain His love anymore (love must give of itself, right?) the members of the Godhead say “Let us create man in our image…” (Genesis 1:26). So, male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27).
In essence, God started a family because He needed to expand and pour out His love! He wanted more sons! More children! He knew that He was so wonderful and splendid that He simply must be given out and He needed His own children into whom He could pour His love and be loved by in return. This would be His most fulfilling delight! He was already experiencing this in the Divine relationship between the Father and the Son but now they wanted this loving relationship to grow! God the Father wanted more image-bearers of His own life!
Fast forward to creation and the fall of mankind after eating of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. After the fall of man, Jesus redeemed us through His blood shed for us on the cross so we could be reconciled back to God – as was always in God’s intent.
“…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith”. Galatians 3:16
Now, all who have received Jesus Christ as their Saviour have become the sons of God, heirs of God the Father, with Jesus Christ, through adoption by the Holy Spirit. Wow! What a gift! We have been created and chosen to be the recipients of God’s very expression, life and love!
I wonder, does this give us a different perspective of God and of His family? For me, I see more of the Father heart of God. I see more of the beauty of Jesus. I am touched by the fact that God had a deep need inside of Him to give out His love into ones who will bear His image. I see that my own personal experience is simply a reflection of having been made in His image. No-one put that desire inside of me, no-one created that, it is an imprint of my heavenly Father in me. I find this truly beautiful and I can embrace it as embracing His nature, His very heart.
I pray that the Lord will open the eyes of our hearts more and more to see God in the light of His need for family; for ones who will bear His image through faith into Jesus Christ, ones who will love Him with His love that is in them, and that will love others with that same love, especially their spiritual siblings. 🙂