by Pastor Tim Burt
I was at breakfast with the guys in my weekly discipleship group. There were eight of us there and we were catching up with each other prior to breakfast being served. We were laughing at stories, talking about work, and getting ready to read and discuss eight scriptures and how they were impacting our lives. As this was happening, I suddenly felt like I was having a momentary out-of-body experience. I looked around the circle of guys at the table one by one. It hit me. Every one of these guys was happily married, a great father, and a hard-working provider including myself. They all loved God, had been in this weekly group for years, and were all serving as leaders in their church. When I realized what I was seeing, I couldn’t help but bring it to everyone’s attention at the first lull in the group conversation. I pointed it out to the guys and said, Do you know what the odds of a group of guys like this are in the world we live in today? Off the charts rare!
Everyone caught ahold of what I was saying. They agreed! Unfortunately, the odds of this in today’s society are extremely rare. Our conversation became a conversation of thankfulness to the Lord for transforming our lives to the place we were in at that moment.
Most people don’t think in terms of something like this as a miracle, but to us, it felt like a miracle—a group of lost guys being found by Jesus and having their lives transformed into something more wonderful than we could have ever imagined. It wasn’t about any of us not experiencing the normal pressures and hardships that come in life. It was about each of us making it through them by being the iron sharpening iron with each other that helped create stability in a group of friends like we were experiencing.
I shared with the guys how many homes have children without fathers in them and how seriously problematic that is. One organization for the fatherless says there are over 20 million homes in America with children without fathers. I actually think the number is greater than that today. While talking about this, one of the men said he had recently heard someone say, When boys don’t have a father, the streets become their father. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that statement since.
My wife grew up in a family that was abandoned by her father. While still married to her mother, he left her mom for another woman and illegally married the other woman. My wife’s mother was one of the most beautiful Christian women I’d ever known. She didn’t want the children to suffer through all of this, so she gave her husband a divorce. She only hoped for child support along the way. To be honest, my wife’s real dad was a very disturbed person. They were fortunate not to have him in the home. He moved to another state, so the kids seldom saw him and that was good. He was a narcissist who did not have the capacity to truly love his family.
My wife’s mom lived for years as a single mom, provider, encourager, and spiritual instructor for her three children. Though they had experienced much hardship and life for them was difficult, she did not allow herself to be a victim. She had tremendous faith in God’s supernatural provision for every need in their lives. She brought the kids to church every Sunday, taught them the Word of God and how to live for God, and literally loved and prayed for them like no other mother could. She eventually remarried the most wonderful Christian man who came into their lives when they were teenagers—something very difficult to do. He became the real father they never had. My wife, her sister, and her brother grew up and matured into the most wonderful Christian people, parents, and professionals with the most stable lives—true influencers of God to the world around them. Note this: They did not become victims of the odds that they could have easily succumbed to.
In both these stories, how did these men and how did this family beat the odds so many others suffer from? There are a few scriptures that remind us that the fatherless metaphorically end up being fathered by the streets without Jesus. The Bible reminds us that God’s fatherhood was hijacked by the devil through his lies to Adam and Eve, and through their sin that was passed on to every human being. Romans 5:12 (NLT): “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” When that happened, Satan became the god of this world and father of mankind and the streets, that raised the children. II Corinthians 4:4 (NLT) says, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”
This entire world in a sense became the fatherless home to all, because sin separated us all from God. But then we were rescued by Jesus! Colossians 1:12-14 (NLT): “Always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”
I’ve written all this today thinking about the craving that every person desires—love, purpose, and stability of life—that all comes from having a godly father in the home. But not every home will have a father and consequently, the odds are against everyone in that home.
This world is fatherless without Jesus. The odds against the fatherless are horrid. God is that Father who alone can create this stability that all mankind craves. He desires to be the Father to the fatherless. He can supernaturally bring the assurance of His love that every child and person craves. He alone can teach us our life’s purpose—something we all deep down desire to know. He alone can bring the promise and assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us in this forsaken world.
And so… bring Jesus into every fabric of your life. Find a good Bible-teaching church. Be involved in its community. Bring the learning, instruction, and prayer of God into your home and personal relationships and friendships. And let Him help you beat the odds of failing by making Him the ultimate Father in your home and life. He can and will fulfill your life with every good thing, despite what the world has stacked against you!
Isaiah 33:6: “And God shall be the stability of your times…”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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