The statistics are alarming! Too unfathomable to document!
I’m talking about children growing up without a father or a flawed father figure. Did you know that 43% of children in the U.S. live without a father? And did you also know that 90% of homeless or runaway kids come from fatherless homes?
You and I can never understand the horrendous things countless children endure at the hands of their fathers: violent drunken outbursts, in and out of their lives, rejection, abandonment and all sorts of physical, mental, verbal, and emotional abuse.
In today’s society, we are seeing more and more fathers abdicating their parental responsibilities. I know too many dads who walked out on their families. And sometimes they never return.
Sadly, this is happening to family units once strong and united. Families in the church.
The results are devastating for children and the repercussions usually cause serious problems well into adulthood.
If you are nodding your head because this is way too familiar, I want you to know that you are NOT alone! Poor father figures trace back many centuries.
God designed the family unit.
There are many homes that seem perfect, or near perfect, from the outside. But here’s the reality: Not one home – even with the presence of a father – is perfect. Why is that? Well, it’s because every human father is flawed – a result of sin’s damaging effect on man.
But guess what? This is no surprise to God. And because of that…
He made a way! A better way!
He has become a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5)!
A perfect Father! A Father for all of us!
I’m talking to everyone. Even those with good earthly fathers can grow up with deep insecurities, severe identity problems, and low self-worth. In fact, I just described what I was like. Did I touch a chord in your heart, too?
It’s okay! God knew! That’s why He has shown us His true identity in Scripture. Jesus says that “Anyone who has seen [Him] has seen the Father” (John 14:9). In other words, if we really want to know our perfect heavenly Father, we need to study Jesus.
Now, let me take a few seconds to talk about our perfect Father and what He has given to us, His beloved children.
Our perfect Father…
This is fabulous! Paul writes: “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). Imagine what a great pleasure it was for God to adopt you. Can you see the smile on His face each time He looks upon His chosen beloved one?
Our adoption offers us a glorious family to belong to.
Our perfect Father…
Is our Abba Father!
Paul states it clearly: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father'” (Romans 8:15). In my Peter Bible study, we observed this word Abba – a word used only three times in the New Testament:
The Word Abba is the Aramaic word for “dear father.” Some would translate
the word Abba as “Daddy” to convey the close, personal meaning of the word.
Having an Abba Father really means that He is not just a distant God, but a personal Father who is calling us into an intimate relationship with Him. Perhaps we should think of ourselves as a child to understand this name. In other words, you are welcome to climb up on His lap when you need comfort, peace, or rest. You can lay your weary head upon His chest and listen to His heart beat. You can pour your burdened heart out to Him.
When you do this, He puts His strong arms around you and holds you tight.
He absolutely loves this time with you.
Our perfect Father…
As believers, these things are only found in God our Father.
Sadly, though, many have yet to discover this.
Here’s the reality: nothing on this earth is meant to last. People will leave, jobs will be gone, our health will fail, things will break, and the world will change. So, putting our security, our identity, or our worth in any of these things only sets us up for a fall when these things fail.
And they will fail!
My brother-in-law put all of his identity in my sister. When she died at a young age, he fell apart. It’s been ten years and he has never recovered. Another person I know put his security in his wife and in their marriage. She was his stability. When the marriage crumbled, he fell apart and eventually ended his own life, leaving his loved ones struggling with unbelievable pain and confusion.
The essence of fatherhood is found in God!
The good news is that our understanding of fatherhood is not limited to our earthly father, or lack of an earthly father.
God defines what a father is!
Therefore, we need to change our view. We need to look at our perfect Father. Only then will we be complete with security, identity and worth. We have been given a gift in a Father. But remember, it’s a gift. And you have to receive it – embrace it – in order to get all the benefits it offers.
Listen closely to these words: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created” (James 1:17-8).
Ponder these words and then write down what God is speaking to you about.
As you do that, also write down why you need a perfect Father.