Hope for the Fatherless

The worship song "One Thing Remains" always has the same effect on me. It simultaneously picks some scabs that have been on my heart for a very long time and reminds me where to run for healing.

Here's the part that gets me . . .

"Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me."

Maybe when you read those words or hear that song, you think about it like running out of milk. Perhaps you are reminded that God's love can never be exhausted, used up, or spent. That's true! But I hear those words in a different way.

I've known love that "runs out on me." I've felt what it's like when someone who's supposed to stay walks out the front door with no plans to return. As a ten-year-old girl, my heart was shattered when my own dad left. All these years later, that moment remains the epicenter of shockwaves that continue to reverberate through my life.

No matter what your earthly dad is like, you have a heavenly Father.

Before I dig much deeper, let me say that I don't talk about this hurt often. It's not because it's too painful; the Lord has brought much healing to my heart and to my relationship with my dad. I don't talk about it much because I want to honor my dad. Dishonoring our parents does collateral damage in our lives and opens us up to a tsunami of pain and bitterness. That's why God's command is that no matter how often our parents miss the mark, we honor them (Ex. 20:12).

So I won't let you in on the details of our story. It's ours, and the theme of redemption and restoration is woven throughout every inch of it. But I will point you to God's truth. He has so much to say to the fatherless, the abandoned, the wounded, and neglected.

If you've never known your dad, your dad left your family, or your relationship with your dad is strained, listen carefully. God's Word sends up a flare of hope just for you. No matter what your earthly dad is like, you have a heavenly Father. Here's what kind of Father He is:

He Pays Attention to You

In addition to loving and caring for you perfectly, if your earthly dad has run out on you, God has a special blessing just for you. Throughout the whole Bible, we read that God's ear is especially attuned to the needs of the fatherless. He pays close attention to you. He has a special blessing for you.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation (Ps. 68:5).

In Genesis 16 and 21, we find the story of a child sent away from his father. But because God listens carefully to the cries of the fatherless, He heard the child's cry and cares for him. As we peel back the layers of this story, we find buried treasure, a name of God that has lifted my chin time and time again—El Roi, "a God of seeing" (16:13). Sometimes that name is translated "the God who sees me."

The truth is:

  • I am never alone; God is with me (Heb. 13:5).
  • I don't have to take care of myself; God will care for me (Phil. 4:19).
  • I am not a burden; God takes great delight in me (2 Sam. 22:20).

You have a God in heaven who made you, who promises to care for you, who looks at you with the eyes of a loving Father toward His precious girl.

I know you want a dad you can come home to. I understand you'd like to look up in the stands at your next basketball game and see your dad cheering your name. Those wishes may not come true. Disappointments may keep coming. But you have a God in heaven who made you, who promises to care for you, who looks at you with the eyes of a loving Father toward His precious girl.

Run to Him. Ask Him to heal the hurt caused by your dad. Ask Him to teach you to depend on Him as your Father, whose love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on you.

About the Author

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is married to her high school sweetheart, Jason, and together they parent four energetic boys on their small farm in the midwest. She is the author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies, the content manager for Revive Our Hearts, and a host of the Grounded videocast. You can hear her teach on The Deep Well with Erin Davis podcast.