Recently, our family took on a sponsoring a new child with Compassion. Her name begins with M and she is 5 years old. We have received a letter from her Mom who is grateful for the sponsorship and little drawing from M. Her bio reveals that there is no father in the picture. When I read that, my heart sank. I thought about little M growing up without a father to guide her.
Later this week, I heard about another little one, about 6 years of age, who is in a very difficult situation. No dad is available to protect or guide them. When I heard about the situation, my anger flared at the injustice and heartache thrust onto one so young.
Yet I am comforted by Psalm 68:5 – “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Scripture consistently portrays God as one who looks out for the vulnerable. He cares about those oppressed or impoverished by life’s hardships.
We see Him actively care for the fatherless in accounts through Scripture. Joseph’s brothers tore him away from his father at age 17. He had to endure years in slavery and prison. Yet the Lord watched over him and raised him up to second in command in Egypt by age 30. Esther had neither father nor mother as she lived in exile in Persia. Yet the Lord provided her cousin Mordecai to guide her and support her through her trials.
Even Jesus lost his earthly father at some point before he began his public ministry. Joseph is not mentioned after the incident of the 12 year old Jesus in the temple. So Jesus likely took on the role of father/provider in the family and had to minister without his earthly father’s counsel.
In my own life, I have experienced what it’s like to be “fatherless” for over 15 years. I still miss my Dad; his wisdom and his life experience. I miss his joy and smile. Yet my heavenly Father continues to lead me and counsel me each day until I see my earthly father again in the resurrection.
I realize that some of us did not have great relationships with our fathers or never knew them. Yet the Father to the fatherless is always present for His counsel, support and guidance.
He also calls us to the same heart for others. When a fatherless child comes across our path or we meet a widow or widower struggling with loneliness, we must not ignore their need. God calls us to imitate Him when it comes to the vulnerable, lonely and afflicted. Who is like that in your life? How can you help them?
“Thank you Father for your care. You provided many of us with good earthly fathers who made a deep impression on our lives. You also brought others to help us when our earthly fathers could not. We pray that you will give us more of your heart to care and act on behalf of the fatherless and vulnerable in our lives. Empower those who are doing that right now with hope, encouragement and perseverance. Thank you Father.”