I remember growing up thinking that my father could do no wrong. He was my hero until his dying day. In my eyes, he was the only person who could protect me because I knew MY dad was the strongest man alive. He expected his children to be disciplined and to mind their elders. We said, "Yes, ma'am," "Please," and "Thank you." I never, ever wanted to disappoint my dad. He had my absolute respect, and the love that a child should have for a father.
Sadly, not all children have the same relationship with their fathers. Not all children are fortunate enough to grow up with a dad, and many are without any type of father figure. Of course, others are in even worse situations in which they don't have any real parents at all. Parents set our course. Sometimes they're tough, like my dad was on me, but a real parent is always there, especially in our times of need.
On July 15, 2004, I lost my dad. I was only 18 years old. I thank God that he was ushered into Heaven, so I have hope of seeing him again someday. But when I lost him, I felt like so many others. I was fatherless. In my heart, I felt like an orphan. There is an obvious father fracture and an "orphaned spirit" that defines our modern world. In a July 2017 article on SpacedOutScientist.com, it is estimated that 27% of children under the age of 18 in the United States live in a single parent home. Eighty-eight percent of those homes are headed by women. I don't have any statistics to prove this, but I would guess that of the other 83% of homes, there are many absentee fathers, alcoholic or drug-addicted fathers, and divorced parents in which the children are only with their biological fathers part of the time. People are broken. Just like I was broken.
After a lot of soul-searching, I came to realize an important truth--God, the Supreme Father, offers to adopt us into his family. In Ephesians 1:5, it says, "He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ himself." God sent his son as a sacrifice, to take on our sin and to overcome it so that we could be a part of God's family, so that we don't have to feel alone. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:15-17, "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now, if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." By choosing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we receive and become filled with the very Spirit of God. That Spirit makes us his. We belong to him and we are not alone. Later, in 2 Corinthians 6:18, it says, "'I will make you sons and daughters,' says the Lord God Almighty."
God's love for us is clearly demonstrated by sending his son so that we could become a part of his family. But there is more. God wants to be a Father, like my father was. He wants to have a real relationship with you. He wants to show love beyond comprehension. Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, "If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?" In Hebrews 4:16, we are told to go boldly before the throne of grace. He gives his Word to show us the way. He is a father who gives gifts and, like my dad was, he is a father that we can come to in good times and in bad.
My hope is that everyone receives this incredible love of my Heavenly Father. I want the world to overcome, that they no longer see themselves as fatherless, but as children of the Most High. He loves us so much that he made us co-heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven with his son, Jesus. He loves us in spite of our flaws, in spite of our disobedience, and in spite of ourselves. His love is eternal and able to conquer any brokenness and doubt that we have. He loves us with a love that endures forever. I miss my dad every single day. But I thank God for being a Heavenly Father that loves me even more than he ever could.
Because so many feel orphaned, broken, and alone, it is our duty to share this incredible love of God the Father with everyone. THIS is the love that can change the world.