Fatherless. Perhaps no term better describes the state of mankind across the globe right now than this one. In many nations this description is practically a one-way guaranteed ticket to poverty, homelessness and starvation. In others, multiple studies show it often sets those left alone or left behind on a path toward lesser and yet still frighteningly negative, threatened results: food insecurity, dropping out of school, incarceration. Of course these results are not inevitable, but the downward pull of the current of culture on a child left with only one parent is a powerful one.
Here's the sometimes difficult-to-swallow truth: women and children need strong, faithful men involved in their lives to experience all God wants for them. (We needn't get up in arms about such an assertion, as God Himself already made it clear way back in the beginning that men don't do well without women, so we don't even need to go over that. As Rita Rudner once said, "Men don't live well by themselves. They don't even live like people. They live like bears with furniture.") God designed families with a mother and father for a reason: We need each other.
God promises to be a father to the fatherless, to set the lonely in families. He portrays himself in scripture as a father both to prodigals and resentful church kids, ready to throw a party for either one at any given moment. As Ephesians 3:15 asserts, "[God is] the Father from whom all fatherhood derives its name."
What can we learn about what families need from dads, from the example God the Father sets for us? What does God as a Father do that we can take notes from?