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Friday, May 1, 2020

Father Figures

By David A. Sargent

     Ken Canfield, Ph.D., affirms fatherlessness has wounded our world. “We are acutely aware of the impact of fatherlessness (children growing up without a father). Its scars mark our cities and nation in ways that few maladies have. In recent years the research community has detailed and documented the negative social outcomes associated with father absence and abuse, and their report is alarming.”
     Canfield states that fatherlessness continues to be a crisis in our world today. “Yet,” he says, “this Father’s Day there is a ray of goodness shining on a facet of fathering worthy of celebration. When fathers are absent, have abandoned or even abused their esteemed role of being a dad, father figures are emerging and standing in the fatherless chasm, providing incredible leadership.”
     In an article entitled, “Kids’ Essays Show the Power of Father Figures,” Canfield references a project conducted by the National Center for Fathering in which the Center has asked for and collected more than a million essays written by children about how their fathers and father figures influence their lives. One of these essays was written by Haley, a 12th grader, about her stepfather, Mark:
     My stepfather became my father when I was eight years old. My real father had died of cancer when I was six years old. My family was broken and needed healing. The Lord blessed us with my new father, Mark. He was like an angel sent from God. He too had lost his father when he was young, and he knew what my brothers and I were going through. He comforted us and gave us strength to continue.
     "When I was eleven, I was diagnosed with cancer. My family was devastated; just when we thought all of the turmoil was over, we realized it was only the beginning. The doctors decided I needed a bone marrow transplant. My stepfather Mark was a perfect match and offered to give his bone marrow to save my life, but a better match was found. My new father had only been a member of our family for a few years when his love and support was put to the extreme. He stayed and took care of me as long as time allowed before he had to return home for work. We became so close during this time that it is impossible to describe.
     "A father doesn’t have to be someone who is biologically related to you. It is someone who would do anything for you and loves you with all of [his] heart and self. I pray that my father and I will remain this close throughout all of our lives and that we will only grow closer as time passes." *
     Haley’s “father figure” exemplifies the kind of father that all children need: one who is selfless, supporting, and loving.
     The greatest “father figure” is God, the heavenly Father. He’s really not a figure; He is the Father. And, He is the greatest “Figure” of fatherhood that all fathers and father figures should seek to emulate.  He is supreme in the way that He loves and cares for His children.
     Do you want some proof?
     God loves us so much that even though we have sinned and rebelled against Him, He gave His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and become a child of God (Ephesians 1:7; Galatians 3:26-27).
     God will save, add to His family, and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will continue to cleanse from sin and prepare for a heavenly home those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
     God IS the greatest Father, and He wants YOU to be His child. Won’t YOU accept His offer on His terms?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* Information gleaned from “Kids’ Essays Show the Power of Father Figures” by Ken Canfield, Ph.D. in www.fathers.com.

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