Our culture tends to demean men and undermine the important role of fathers, then wonders at the staggering numbers of fatherless and troubled children. To the fathers who stick it out and stand up for their families, and to the men who step up to the plate to fill someone else’s shoes—thank you. You play a vital role not only in your family, but your positive impact reverberates throughout society.
My heart aches for those who lack a healthy relationship with their father and for those without a father in their lives. My parents were divorced, and I remember the longing and loneliness of watching friends make cards for Mother’s Day while mine was overseas and I had little contact with her at the time. Some children experience an emptiness because their parent has died or is not a part of their life. Other children suffer due to a parent who is physically present but emotionally absent. For those, life and Father’s Day can be difficult. Perhaps you know a dad who isn’t shouldering his responsibilities, or one who needs someone to come alongside and show him how to be a father. Or perhaps you know someone who is missing a father. To the good men out there, will you consider reaching out as a friend, mentor, or father figure to someone in need? Dads, if you need help, seek help.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally… (James 1:5 KJV)
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
If you’re a father of a wayward child despite the time and love you’ve invested in them, God hears your prayers for your prodigal, Dad. He loves them more than you do and works to win their heart and draw them home.
Maybe you’re a child or a father unwillingly estranged from each other. I prayed for reconciliation between my brothers and my dad for 36 long, hard years. The Bible says love never fails. God is love, and He broke through. Hold on to hope.
To those without a father or whose father falls short of their call, God sees, loves, and aches for you. If you don’t know Him, He longs to make you His own son or daughter.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12 KJV)
A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. (Psalms 68:5 KJV)
You do not have to remain a victim of circumstance. If you grew up with an absent or abusive father, God can break the cycle of destruction. He wants to heal and help you become the person He created you to be. A wise friend once told me, “You have the right to be angry, but you don’t have to be.” This does not mean allowing abusive behavior to continue — but when we forgive the offender (even if they are unrepentant and undeserving) it sets us on the path to freedom.
But God commendeth his love toward us, that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 KJV)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
I admire John Finch, author of The Father Effect and founder of The Father Effect Ministries. John chose to become a victor instead of remaining a victim of his circumstances after enduring the pain of his father’s suicide at age 11. When John recognized his inability to fix his life, he accepted God’s gift of salvation and sonship, extended forgiveness to his father, and experienced the healing love God offers when we become His. God restored John’s life and used his painful past to create a ministry reaching out to rescue, encourage and equip thousands of fathers and children.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15 KJV)
Another hero I was recently honored to interview is U.S. Army Chaplain, special needs parent and writer, Brad Lee. Chaplain Lee is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified professional life coach. He and his wife Lori have six children. Their second youngest, seven-year-old Kayden was born with Down Syndrome and recently diagnosed with Autism.
In his forthcoming book, Chaplain Lee shares their “journey of faith, struggle, and hope through the world of special needs.” Recognizing the impact and strain on couples with special needs children, Chaplain Lee says his heart is to minister to their marriages. On his recently launched YouTube Channel, Special Needs Marriage and Family, he offers strategies to help navigate the unique challenges families with special needs children face — wisdom any family can benefit from.
God is the perfect father. He does not fall short like earthly fathers do. When we give our hearts and hurts to Him, we are accepted and adopted. He forgives and enables us to forgive others. God knows and understands you. He is always accessible, forever faithful. He never leaves or forsakes His children. He calls them beloved.
And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18 KJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV)