There’s a growing “rent-a-family” industry in many countries to meet the needs of lonely people. Some use the service to maintain appearances, so that at a social event they can appear to have a happy family. Some hire actors to impersonate estranged relatives, so that they can feel, if briefly, a familial connection they long for.
This trend reflects a basic truth: Humans are created for relationship. In the creation story found in Genesis, God looks at each thing He has made and sees that it’s “very good” (1:31). But when God considers Adam, He says, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (2:18). The human needed another human.
The Bible doesn’t just tell us about our need for connection. It also tells us where to find relationships: among Jesus’s followers. Jesus, at His death, told His friend John to consider Christ’s mother as his own. They would be family to each other even after Jesus was gone (John 19:26–27). And Paul instructed believers to treat others like parents and siblings (1 Timothy 5:1–2). The psalmist tells us that part of God’s redemptive work in the world is to put “the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6), and God designed the church as one of the best places to do this.
Thanks be to God, who has made us for relationship and given us His people to be our family!
Who are the lonely people in your life who need you to be their family? How have your relationships with fellow believers sustained you through periods of loneliness?
The book of Genesis is remarkable for its portrayal of women and men as equal partners dependent on each other to flourish. In fact, Genesis 2:18–22 is the only complete account of woman’s creation in all of ancient Near Eastern literature. The Hebrew word ezer (“helper,” pronounced ay-zer) used to describe the woman (2:18, 20) is also a profoundly dignifying word, often used in Scripture to describe God as a deliverer of His people.