“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the dew of [lofty] Mount Hermon and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life forevermore [upon the high and the lowly].”Psalms 133:1, 3 AMPC
One March evening, I headed to meet a friend for a girls-only writing get-away. I had responsibilities at church Wednesday that kept me from being able to make the trip with her, as was our custom. Not letting that stop me from going, I packed my car with the idea that I would make the trip by myself to meet her after church concluded.
In telling my husband the plans I’d made, I commented that with the time change, I wouldn’t be driving in the dark very long at all before arriving. I wasn’t worried about traveling alone, though it is rare for me to drive long distances. I am typically the passenger. That is a good thing, because when I start talking, I tend to miss the commands from my GPS.
My greatest concern was that I was tired before I even started. It had been a busy few days. As I drove, I prayed. I prayed over my husband and children, my family, and my church family. After seeing a deer eating grass on the side of the road, I prayed for all the deer to stay in the woods. It got dark earlier than I anticipated.
I drove long stretches of dark, country roads that had previously left me full of imagination. Earlier, I had seen old farmhouses and imagined what antics had been enjoyed within those walls. There’d been barns, ponds, cows, and farm equipment – all telling of a lifestyle that felt a lot like home. I wondered to what extent these people ever really had to leave their 5-mile radius of home.
But as I glanced at the beautiful hues of pink in my rear-view mirror, I knew my sight-seeing was about to end. I wanted to press the accelerator pedal a little harder. I knew darkness was inevitable and I still had half of the trip ahead of me.
The darker it got, the more attention I had to pay. Do you know there are really long sections of roadway in the middle of nowhere with no speed limit signs? Do you also know how hard it is to spot the outline of police cars in the dark? These were some of the thoughts that were occupying my mind as I traveled. How fast can I go? I wanted to get there as quickly as possible without seeing blue lights behind me! The ensuing darkness also made it more difficult to spot deer.
I sang along with the artists on the radio. It was now completely dark. There seemed to be no end of the small towns and their slow-down zones. My speed fluctuated between 30 and 55 miles per hour as I shortened the distance between where I was and where I was going.
As I traveled, something stuck out to me. I was passing a lot of churches. The darkness made it impossible to see the color of the buildings or what kind of church they were. I couldn’t see the details, but an overwhelming and surprising sense of peace infiltrated my mind.
I noted which churches had cars in their parking lot, indicating they were worshipping together. Several had no cars and I wondered if they only met on Sundays. But the peace I felt as I passed each one was prominent in my mind. I found that a little odd, because I’ve passed lots of churches as I’ve gone about my tasks in the town where I work. When I drive by one, I often pray over them, but I’d never felt a stirring in me quite like what I was experiencing now. I decided to ask the Lord about this surprising peace I was feeling.
God’s Unexpected Response
His response to my question was an unexpected one. He said the peace I was feeling was from the comfort of the knowledge of family. Family! I didn’t even know any of the people in these buildings, but we were family! I could have dropped in unannounced and they would be ready to accept me with open arms and pray for any need I had. That is part of what it means to be in a family. They may not be able to solve every problem, but they can point me to the One who can.
Psalms 133 says it is “truly wonderful and delightful to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity” (TPT). God designed us to be part of His family. We are brothers and sisters, living and working together, and it pleases Him when we are unified. In fact, following instructions to live in unity, Psalms 133:3 tells us there God commands the blessing!
The Revelation of Surprising Peace
It is usually in times of great loss or difficulty that we realize the value of family. We lean on them for encouragement, love, and support. Family brings blessed peace to tumultuous situations. What a privilege to be part of a family!
How would the realization that all believers are part of our family change our responses on social media? Would we think to extend a little more grace? Would we hold them a little more accountable and find loving ways to remind them Whose they are? Who among our followers needs to be part of our family, and how are we drawing them so they too experience surprising peace? Would we remember to have love as the foundation of all our responses?
Just on the other side of those closed church doors, part of my family was congregated. The more churches I passed, the more I realized just how big my family really was. I felt overwhelming gratitude! There is nothing more precious than family and God designed His church to be one big family. If you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, then you are part of this amazing family with me! How blessed I am to have you on my side!
“Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that He has lavished on us! He has called us and made us His very own beloved children.”1 John 3:1a, TPT
It is because He loves us so lavishly that He made us a family!
Thank You for loving me and making me part of Your family. I recognize the value of my personal and spiritual family, and ask you to bless each one. If I hold any unforgiveness toward anyone, show me so that I can release them from that debt and enjoy Your freedom. I choose to forgive every offense, as You require, and I choose to live unoffended!
Help me to show Your love to my brothers and sisters in Christ so that I walk in the blessing of unity! Remind me often that I am part of Your big, amazing family. I am not alone. Thank you that I have family to call on when I need help or encouragement!
In Jesus’ Name,
Have you ever experience an overwhelming, surprising peace? What revelation did God show you about it? We are entering Thanksgiving season. What is something you are particularly thankful for about your family? Leave your responses in the comments at the bottom of this post. I look forward to hearing from you!
Free Printable: Family Series
Enjoy this Family Series printable set as a free gift. Included in the download are 5 colorful watercolor style photos with Scripture printed on each. Three from the set are shown below. Choose your favorite to print or print them all! They are 5×7, perfect for framing!
Click on the link and this printable will open as a PDF in a new tab. Also, be sure to check out the extended version of this set below! It contains twice as many Scriptures to bring encouragement to your day! Family and friendships are such a blessing!
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Free Gift: Believing for a Miracle – chapter one!
Click here to read the first chapter of Holly’s book, “Believing for a Miracle” absolutely free! The paperback and Kindle version of this book and the author’s notebooks (EncouraJournals) are available on Amazon.
Just for You! An Extended Family Series Printable Set!
If you have family and friends and love having the Word posted where you can see and enjoy it often, this PDF set is perfect for you! Click the photo or link here to see all the Scripture and designs included in this set. File will be sent to your email. Print at home or send to your favorite copy retailer and print as many high-quality digital prints as you’d like!