Part 3: God as Father of the Fatherless

The Bible calls God the father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). About forty times, the Old Testament describes orphaned children as fatherless. Perhaps they were called fatherless because the high casualty rates in the numerous Old Testament wars left them with mothers, but no fathers. Orphans became known as the fatherless. Yet the Bible hastens to make clear that, despite the loss of their biological fathers, these children are not completely fatherless. They join the ranks of Abraham (Isa. 63:16) and the king (Psalm 2:6-7) in having God as their father. Children without fathers join the family of those who have God as their father.
As we explore core concepts in which our faith is centered, we must not forget one group that remains on the margin of the picture: those who have no biological fathers. Perhaps no group is more open to finding a father, no segment of society more in need of such a father than those parentless children among us.
We should not be a church family with God as our Father and ignore those who have no father. Every time we pray, “Dear Father” we do so in a world where thousands of children have no father at all, biological or spiritual. Every time we lay claim to this deeply desired relationship, we must be aware of those who cry out for the same comfort out of exceedingly deep hurt.
If God chose to make himself father of the fatherless, those who follow him should continue that legacy. We, as Christian communities, embrace what our God embraces. Since God owned the children without earthly parents, we find justification for owning the same children today.
Every Christian couple who adopts a child imitates God in a unique way. Each time a Christian childcare agency places a child in an adoptive family, it participates in a practice initiated by God himself. We walk on holy ground in giving vulnerable children a parent, following the footsteps of God himself who claimed to be the father of children in similar circumstances.
Churches and Christians may find many reasons to care for unwanted children. One of our most fundamental biblical motivations is found in God himself, the first father of the fatherless.

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