[God is] a father to the fatherless. Psalm 68:5
Guy Bryant, single and with no children of his own, worked in New York City’s child welfare department. Daily, he encountered the intense need for foster parents and decided to do something about it. For more than a decade, Bryant fostered more than fifty children, once caring for nine at the same time. “Every time I turned around there was a kid who needed a place to stay,” Bryant explained. “If you have the space in your home and heart, you just do it. You don’t really think about it.” The foster children who’ve grown and established their own lives still have keys to Bryant’s apartment and often return on Sundays for lunch with “Pops.” Bryant has shown the love of a father to many.
The Scriptures tell us that God pursues all who are forgotten or cast aside. Although some believers will find themselves destitute and vulnerable in this life, He promises to be with them. God is “a father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5). If, through neglect or tragedy, we’re alone, God is still there—reaching out to us, drawing us near, and giving us hope. Indeed, “God sets the lonely in families” (v. 6). In Jesus, other believers comprise our spiritual family.
Whatever our challenging family stories, our isolation, our abandonment, or our relational dysfunction may be, we can know that we’re loved. With God, we’re fatherless no more.
What does it mean for you to have a heavenly Father who loves you and will never leave you? How does He meet your deepest needs?
Father God, I need a good father, a true father, one who will not leave me. I’m grateful You’re this Father for me.
Nearly forty times in the Old Testament the Hebrew word yāthom (the root word means “to be lonely”) is translated “fatherless,” as in Psalm 68:5. Though forgotten by others, the fatherless and widows aren’t overlooked by God. The social responsibility of God’s people included sensitivity to care for them. The first place in Scripture that explicitly points this out is Exodus 22:22–23: “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.” The words of James in the New Testament also reveal God’s heart for them: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). God’s people of any era are to be His caregiving agents to those on the margins.