The devastating effects of fatherlessness in our society is an issue that affects every level of the culture. For many years I have had a great burden for those who do not know a father's love and affection, so much so that I have already written books on the subject (The Fatherless Generation, Who's Your Daddy Now? and In Search of A Father's Blessing, published 1994, 2007 and 2016 respectively).
My heart cries out for healing and justice for a generation of spiritual and natural orphans. I know that these precious souls have a destiny in Christ, and I know that the love of their Father in heaven can set them free.
But one of the things that is not often talked about is the effect of fatherlessness on mothers. Although it is not true in every case, the overwhelming statistics are that children living with only one parent in the home are being raised by single mothers. In many communities, this sad reality is the norm, and the number of fatherless homes is staggering.
While acknowledging the tremendous accomplishments of many single parents, let us be clear—this is not God's design. God never intended for women to have to play the role of both mother and father. God made mothers to be life-givers and nurturers. But when they are forced to wear multiple hats all at the same time—comforter, disciplinarian, provider, counselor and on and on—the result can be stressful and even traumatic, leading to burnout.
God's design is for children to be raised with both mother and father, benefiting from the inherent strengths and gifts He has given to both parents. But the sobering truth is that there are many single-parent homes within the church as well.
Hope for the Fatherless and the Widow
How do we stop the cycle in our homes and communities? Boys raised without fathers learn that men don't stay with their wives and children. Girls raised without fathers learn not to expect a faithful and committed husband. And so the cycle goes on and on. What is the answer? Where is the hope?
Psalm 68:5 says, "A father of the fatherless, and a protector of the widows, is God in His holy habitation."
There is an answer for the children who do not know the love, provision and protection of a father. There is an answer for the single mother who is struggling to do everything on her own. God sees you. He knows you. You are precious in His sight. He has a plan for you.
Finding and Trusting the Father
Like so many, we tend to live behind compensatory facades, wearing masks to cover up our insecurities, fears, hurts and pain. Some turn to self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, promiscuity and the like. But for me, ultimately, it was a journey that led me to the one who cared for me like no other—my heavenly Father.
If I have any advice for single mothers or for their children, it is this: Trust Him. Trust in His Word. Trust in His promises that He will provide for you, protect you, love you, heal you and restore you. No matter how hard the journey is, you can trust that He will not fail you.
When you trust in Jesus and activate your faith in His Word, you allow your eyes to be opened to things unseen to the natural eye. You will experience the heart of God for you and for your family. And soon, you will begin to see His presence and His provision in your life in practical and tangible ways. Never forget—if you are an "orphan" or a "widow," God has special grace and care just for you.
Becoming a Demonstration of the Father's Heart
God has bound Himself to look after and care for the orphan and the widow. Moreover, He has commanded His church—the body of Christ—to take up this same responsibility. The people of God must become a living, breathing, moving revelation of the Father-heart of God. We must reach out to those who have been abandoned and become spiritual fathers to the fatherless and a source of support and provision to spiritual widows.
If you are a child who has lost his or her father and who is struggling with your sense of identity and purpose, or if you are a mother (or single-parent father) who has lost your husband (spouse) and who is just trying to make ends meet and keep things together, then know that your heavenly Father has a special grace for you.
The Lord told Israel that when they went out to gather their harvest, they were to leave some behind for the alien, the widow, and the orphan (Deut. 24:19, 26:12). His heart and His principles have not changed. We must care for one another, even as He so generously cares for us.
Grace Abounds: Hope for the Fatherless and the Widow
"A father of the fatherless, and a protector of widows, is God in his holy habitation" (Ps. 68:5). Scripture makes it abundantly clear, with dozens and dozens of verses that proclaim this message: God has a special place within his heart for orphans and widows.
—Psalm 146:9 says He will support them.
—Exodus 22:23 says He will hear their cry and will vindicate them.
—Proverbs 15:25 says He will protect their property.
—Deuteronomy 10:18 tells us He will grant them justice.
I don't believe that it is only those who have lost a father or husband to a physical death who qualify as orphans and widows. I believe there is both a literal and figurative meaning to these terms. Our society is full of children whose fathers are absent from their lives for one reason or another. There are countless women who have been abandoned by their husbands, physically, emotionally or spiritually. But God has a special grace for these ones.
There are many Scriptures that tell us about God's intimate relationship to the orphan and the widow. Romans 5:20 states that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. This is good news for a society in which absenteeism among fathers abounds. There is great grace from our heavenly Father that is available to us! Even when the statistics seem to get worse, we can rejoice in the grace that we can access through the Blood of Christ!
Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, a global network bringing hope and healing to communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches and cooperative efforts. He is the author of numerous books, including In Search of a Father's Blessing and Leadership Awakening: Foundational Principles for Lasting Success.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.