Father's Day Revisited
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. Malachi 4:6
Recently I was asked again the age-old question, “If God exists and God is good, why is there so much pain and misery in the world? Doesn’t the pain and misery we witness in this world argue for the non-existence of God rather than for His existence? Seekers, doubters, skeptics, atheists, even believers have wrestled with this question again and again ad infinitum. When a tragedy occurs more often than not the “victims, even those who claim to not believe in God, cry out, “Why God? Why did you cause or allow this to happen to me and mine? Answers to these questions exist in God’s Word though they are not always accepted or received as satisfying by those who ask.
When we contemplate such questions in relation to our belief or doubt that God is, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him, which is the definition of faith as expressed in Hebrews 11:6, perhaps we should grapple with the meaning of these statistics concerning the failure of human fathers, before we throw darts at the Father in heaven.
From recent credible studies it has been shown that fatherless homes produce:
63% of youth suicides; 90% of all homeless and runaway children; 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders; 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger; 71% of all high school dropouts; 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers; 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions; 85% of all youths sitting in prisons.
Close to 30% of all children in the State of Georgia live in households without a father. An African American child’s chances of living with a single mother are more than 60%.
What do statistics like this say about man himself, rather than God, the Father, who has clearly warned what happens when the hearts of the fathers turn away from their children, resulting in the hearts of their children turning as well? Or fathers who by their absence, miserable example, and lack of nurture and admonition provoke their children to anger producing these results and countless more like them? Surely, God speaks truthfully when He warns, “or else I will come and strike the land with a curse! This is the awful cost of bondage to sin and hardened hearts which rush to blame God while refusing to see what they have produced in and of themselves.
Mothers are not blameless, but it is fathers who clearly carry the heaviest burden of guilt. The facts speak too loudly and drown out all excuses similar to Adam’s, “She made me do it! Father’s Day has been a time for giving thanks to fathers who in some measure have followed the example of the Heavenly Father; but it ought to be more fittingly a day of repentance. For those fathers willing to see the facts in front of their eyes it is never too late to do something about the failures of the past. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Jesus said it, and He meant it.
“Come ye souls by sin afflicted, bowed with fruitless sorrow down; by the broken law convicted, through the cross behold the crown; Look to Jesus, mercy flows through Him alone.
“Take His easy yoke and wear it; love will make obedience sweet; Christ will give you strength to bear it, while His wisdom guides your feet Safe to glory, where His ransomed captives meet.
(Verses 1 and 2 of Joseph Swain’s hymn, “Come, Ye Souls by Sin Afflicted, 1792)
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