Monday, January 30, 2012

Father to the Fatherless

It's my son's birthday today. As I often do with each of my children, I reflect on the moment we met, when I first saw the face of the much-longed-for child.

This boy was born into strange circumstances. He would never see the face of his runaway father. This child was mine alone. I carried him alone, bore him alone, and raised him alone for many years. But he was not a burden, rather a delight, curious and sweet, a high achiever, a boy of many interests. Now he is a man with a tender heart and many degrees, still curious. He is changing the world for the better with his expertise. My boy is not only my son but my friend. We can talk of many deep things. He brought a wife into our family, adding to my joy. And maybe later children?

Me, a fatherless child. My son suffered the same fate through no fault of his. Are we the people we are because of that fact? How might we have been different? I can see God our Father's hand on my life from the beginning, a frail and broken child made strong. And on my son's life too. This Father has been ever-present, ever-faithful.

My son read Psalm 103 on my wedding day when I married Fred so many years ago:

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass. He flourishes like a flower of the field, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments."

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