Friday, November 11, 2011
The Face of The Fatherless
Last December, on Christmas Eve, the Hubs and I committed to expanding our family through adoption. Over the past year, we have prayerfully explored how adoption might look for us. In the process, we have studied scriptures that mandate God's call on his people to "defend the cause of the fatherless" (Isaiah 1:17)
Since we are challenged to check scripture with scripture and not just take individual verses out of context for our own personal argument, we dug deep into the problem before us. Here is some of what God has to say about the fatherless...
What the Bible says about the Fatherless
One thing is clear. God is serious about His commitment to the fatherless. And we should be too. So, over the past year, I have been looking into the face of the fatherless and what I have found disturbs me to the core of who I am.
Fatherless has many faces. Too many faces. Many times, it's an orphan. Other times, it's a child whose family has been dismantled. Every time, the effects are devastating. The statistics are quite sobering. According to the website Dads 4 Kids the following statements can be made about children who grow up without a father:
"Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality."
"...the absence of the father in the home affects significantly the behavior of adolescents and results in the greater use of alcohol and marijuana."
"Fatherless children are at dramatically greater risk of suicide."
"Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity."
"The economic consequences of a [father's] absence are often accompanied by psychological consequences, which include higher-than-average levels of youth suicide, low intellectual and education performance, and higher-than-average rates of mental illness, violence and drug use."
"Fatherless children -- kids living in homes without a stepfather or without contact with their biological father -- are twice as likely to drop out of school."
Here is more info on the fatherless if you have the stomach for it...
Statistics on Fatherless Children
Had enough? Let me point out that these statistics don't even begin to address the world-wide orphan crisis where over 140 million children are left without a mother or a father. These statistics are just the tip of a very menacing ice burg that humanity is failing to address.
These are the facts and they paint a picture that breaks the heart of God. Therefore, it should break the hearts of God's people. Children were never intended to be fatherless. And yet, we see a generation of children growing up without a father.
Some see these statistics and use them as a justification for abortion. Let me say definitively, this would NOT be God's solution. For God values the sanctity of life and considers each child, born and unborn, precious. He has a plan and a purpose for every human life, and His plans do not include abortion.
Neither do God's plans include abandoment. The Church mustn't turn away as this festering problem affects the children of today, and the mothers and fathers of tomorrow. So, what are we do to? My response is...do what you are called to do. Start with a prayer. Let me warn you. It might sting a little. Probably a lot. Then, go where God leads you one step of faith at a time. You don't have to have the whole journey from start to finish all figured out before you commit to follow after the LORD. Just choose to walk in obedience. God will do the rest.
For us, our family has been called to adopt one of the fatherless, but not everyone is called to adoption. Still every child of God is called to do something on behalf of the fatherless. And I believe our Heavenly Father takes our efforts to be his hands and feet and multiplies them for His glory. As ambassadors of Christ and God followers, we are called to go to where they are and care for them in their distress. (Deuteronomy 10:18)
May I challenge you to pray about your role in fighting for the fatherless. Perhaps you will mentor a child who has been abandoned by a father. You might decide to sponsor a child through a charitable organization. Maybe you will serve on a missions team that will go abroad and meet the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the fatherless. You might even decide, as we have, to open your home and your heart to adoption.
I don't know your role in defending the cause of the fatherless. But this I know. We all have a part to play. And we will all suffer the consequences if we fail to do so. Let's not look away from the face of the fatherless.