“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” – Psalm 68:5
This week I wanted to share a short devotional with you. I hope that it blesses the start of your week, but also encourages you no matter what your present circumstances may look like.
This past weekend we celebrated fathers all around. Young fathers, old fathers, fathers who have sacrificed, protected, loved and guided their families. Fathers who have given so much of themselves for the sake of their families. It was wonderful to sit back in the congregation and watch them all being appreciated for what they had done. But while they were being celebrated, I couldn’t help but think of those who never had their fathers around. Some unfortunately could have lost them due to death, others could have lost them due to lack of a healthy relationship, or simply due to absence. I personally am one of them. I never had a relationship with my father, and it wasn’t until very recently that I connected with him. However, God is good because through the absence of my earthly father I learned something greater – something that the Israelites had learned – and something I hope you learn today.
When the Israelites came out of Egypt and began their journey to the land which God had promised them, we read that their stubbornness and constant disobedience delayed their entrance to the land which God had promised them. Eventually, as the generation that came out of Egypt gradually began to die away, there were many that were left fatherless and many as widows in the camps. It would be fair to believe that the Israelites slowly became like an orphan nation left in the wilderness, but on the contrary they suffered no wrongs nor where they left to fend for themselves. Rather, the righteous laws and the just administrators whom God had appointed, looked well to the interests of the needy. Regardless of the absence or presence of their earthly fathers the Israelites were ruled and protected by the One who would never abandon them like their earthly fathers did. God always defended, protected, sheltered, provided and guided them throughout their journey to the Promised Land – even through their continued disobedience to Him. He did this not only for the generation that left Egypt, but even for the generations later His faithfulness remained the same – as it does today for us also. To this day and for ever, God is, and will be, the peculiar guardian of the defenseless… and that is a great reason for joy.
Our earthly fathers have been given a responsibility to protect, defend, love and honor their families. However, we must realize that in the end they too are only humans with many flaws. As a result some of us may never have that relationship or experience with them as we would have hoped to. However, God is reminding us that whether or not our earthly fathers succeeded or failed in fulfilling the expectation set before them, God will always be our ultimate Father and Creator who will defend, protect, and provide according to our needs. I don’t speak this from a place of assumption or unrealistic belief. I speak this from personal experience. Although I never had a relationship with my father, I can’t remember a single day in my life where I lacked anything I needed. I don’t just mean materialistic needs. From a young age the one valuable lesson my mother taught me was that only God was my provider, and that only He was the Father I would ever need. Were things always easy? Absolutely not. There were certainly trials, hard times, and moments I wondered what my life would have been like if my father had been present. However, God was always my shield, my provider, my comforter, my protector and the only Father I ever knew to cry out to. As a result, when I finally re-connected with my father I had nothing else but love for him — not because he had ever been there to teach me that, but because through God, my Heavenly Father, my life was already complete not lacking anything. Everything I would have needed from an earthly father, I had already received in far greater measure through God, my Heavenly Father.
I am sharing more on a personal note today because I know there is someone who needs to hear this and be encouraged by it. We may have broken relationships with our fathers, our mothers, or live in a dysfunctional family where the love that is necessary to see from them has grown cold. God wants to remind those of you in such circumstances that you too shall not lack anything for as long you realize that He is your ultimate Father. He is the one who was here before your earthly fathers and mothers even knew you, and He will continue to be here after them. Do not walk this life regretting, or pitying yourself due to what you think you’re lacking in your life. Your ultimate Father figure whose perfect love towards you remains unchanging is always present anxiously waiting for you to finally notice Him, and be delighted by Him. In Him you shall not ever lack anything. “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
Finally to conclude, for those reading this post whose fathers have been faithful, I want to encourage you to continue to support them and lift them up. The responsibility given to them is never an easy one to bare. But with the prayers, encouragement, and love of their families, their responsibility becomes easier to fulfill. Do not be harsh with them, and do not be quick to point out their flaws or accuse them of their wrong doings. Rather, let your love, gentleness and wisdom act as a guiding light for them to remain faithful with what has been given to them.
Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers who have read this post. May God bless you for all of your dedication, and may He increase greater wisdom in your life as you continue to lead your families and serve them with your unconditional love.
See you next Monday!