Being a Father to the Fatherless

January 22, 1973 is a difficult day for me to write about. For many others, too, I would imagine. But it is a day that must be written about by those of us who are able. Because the individuals whose lives have been impacted the most by that day will never be able to pick up a pen or sit at a keyboard to tell their story.

January 22, 1973 is the day the infamous decision in Roe v. Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court. Today, 42 years later, over a million babies lose their lives each year.

It’s not just the babies who are impacted, either, as for each baby’s life that is lost there is a mother and a father’s life that are changed forever as well. So many have missed out on being the parent of incredibly unique human beings, and my heart hurts for them, too.

Being pro-life means loving and championing the right to life (and life to the full) not just for babies, but for every single human being.

Hands of a young family photographed in black & white.

Young or old. Weak or strong. Rich or poor. Friend or foe. Regardless of age, race, religion, gender, or any other measure, each and every life is important and valuable in and of itself. Not because we ourselves give life value, because that would mean we could take it away, but because every life is created with value inherent. Value that we can never take away, no matter how careless we are with it.

But recognizing the value of life is only the first step. When we realize just how important each and every person is, in our communities and around the world, we must be compelled to stand up for them, to make sure that they aren’t lost, forgotten, dismissed, or discarded. Every child, every person, deserves to be valued and respected. Not because of who they are or what they’ve done or what we think they can or cannot do, but because they are, in fact, created and because of Who created them.

As a father, I know how much love I feel for my children and how sure I am of their value. But many don’t have anyone, parents or otherwise, who believe that about them. We might not be able to save the world ourselves, but we can love others. We can care for others. We can value others.

We can and we must.

The following post was originally published here on the blog in January of 2014 under the title, “Be A Voice.

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Be A Voice

Last week on his blog, Jim Daly shared some information from journalist Kirsten Powers concerning the persecution of Christians around the world. It is sobering stuff. As gut-wrenching as it is to read about, we know that it’s only a small sliver of reality and we know that many, many more people face horrific circumstances unrelated to their particular religious beliefs. It all feels completely and utterly overwhelming, and we don’t even know the half of it.

When we, the comfortable few of the Western World, hear about these sorts of tragedies of injustice, I think we find it is easiest to simply drown it out. Our hearts don’t feel capable of surviving any lengthy rumination on the pain, so we try to escape and distract ourselves with the busyness of life or the little trinkets of entertainment we use as emotional crutches. We might even allow ourselves to get a little extra ruffled over the state of our own culture. It’s simpler to think about that. It feels less overwhelming, and we can temporarily sate the inner voices that tell us we are ignoring something important.

As dads, as parents, it can feel even more daunting since we have our children to think about. What if those were our children… what if it ever is our children? Anxiety threatens to eat away our peace. Hopelessness plots to drain our courage. Depression waits to strip us of our joy. In broken moments, I’ve even questioned God and asked Him why He would allow my precious children to be born into a world so cold. I don’t want them to know pain, but I know I am only a mere man and I can only do so much to shield them from the hurt that the world holds.

In the face of that, as we ask God how we ought to live in light of the big picture, we find ourselves called, as people, as dads, to find the strength and courage to not only face the brokenness head on, but to do so with our hearts and our minds committed to not sitting idly by.

Not by our own might, lest we risk becoming overwhelmed, but by the love, grace, joy, and might of a Heavenly Dad who we know cares for His children all over the world, and who equips us to raise His children to be men and women of compassion and action.

It’s always good to remember God’s promises, and I want to leave you with one as an encouragement for you and your family. It is a promise that I believe is especially heartening when the aches and pains of the world feel overwhelming. It is a promise Jesus made to his disciples (and us) right after warning them of the painful things they will face in their journey as His sheep:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

For Those Who Can’t Speak

January is Sanctity of Human Life month, and we believe that all human life is sacred and precious. From the youngest child growing inside a mother’s womb to a family suffering in horrific conditions because of war or persecution to our elders whose bodies and minds grow older around spirits still filled with life and love – each and every life is valuable and worth speaking up for. One way we can be men of action is to be a voice for those who have none. Sometimes doing so feels like a small, insignificant step, but it’s always an important one.

To take up the cause of the least of these is one of the most serious tasks we are asked to undertake while here on this earth, and we owe it to God, to those who are hurting, and, yes, even to our children, to stop forgetting or ignoring that sacred calling that unites us as followers of Christ. It’s the call to love God, and then to be His love to others.

Are we willing to love even when it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient? Would you consider being a voice with us? How is God already using you (and your family) to love? We’d love to hear about it and be encouraged by the word of your testimony.

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” (Psalm 68:5)

Steve Spring 6 months ago
Jake, great post with some great advice for men. I liked what you said about us not being able to save the world by ourselves, but taking the time to love and value others is a step in the right direction. Thanks for sharing. 
jake_roberson 6 months ago
You're welcome, Steve, and thank you! I think we each have to take it step-by-step and focus on caring for the person (people) in front of us as best we can.

I just saw Selma this week, and my favorite line in the film is when one of MLK's friends encourages him in a down moment by quoting from Matthew 6 and then telling him, "we build the path as we can... rock by rock." Powerful stuff, and just as true for us as men and fathers.