As children slowly age into adulthood, they depend on their parents to teach them fundamental things as they journey to discover who they are. They turn to their moms and dads to be given lessons on trust, integrity, love, morality, and even relationships, so the absence of daddy can have a detrimental impact on children. Sadly, in our society, it is reported that 24 million children live in a fatherless home and one in three children are growing up without a father. It’s a problem not only present in poverty-stricken areas but occurs across the economic scale as fathers are leaving families.
Being a product of an absent dad, I remember as a child I would ask myself: Is there something wrong with me? Is my hair too short? Am I too fat? Am I pretty enough? Insecurities plagued my mind, as I pondered why my daddy did not choose me. Sometimes I would sit at the park and watch the little girls interact with their daddies and I thought it was not fair because I coveted their happiness that secured their innocence. You are left with the same question again: Why doesn’t my daddy want me?
In the book of Genesis, Sarah, who was barren, gave her maidservant, Haggar, to her husband hoping to obtain children by her. Later, Sarah hates Haggar. Sarah dealt harshly with Haggar then caused her to flee to the wilderness. It is there that Haggar encounters the Angel of the Lord who consoles her and informs her that she is pregnant with a child who shall be named Ishmael, “because the Lord has heard your affliction”. That night, the Angel of the Lord prophesied over Haggar’s son and eventually Ismael was born to Abram, “father of many nations”.
Later, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and kept his promise to Sarah that she would bear a son, which they named Isaac. After the birth of the Isaac, Ishmael became the bastard son of Abraham or the forgotten one. Sarah wanted Haggar (bondwoman) and Ishmael to be sent away, which displeased Abraham. But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice, for in Isaac, your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman because he is your seed” (Genesis 21: 12-13).
Even though the prophetic word was spoken over Ishmael’s life, he was the one who was sent away by his daddy who was supposed to love him like he adored his other son, but sadly that was not the case. It felt like it was better that Ishmael wasn’t born because Isaac was the promised son who was circumcised, and later weaned with a great feast was held in his honor. But Ishmael was the fatherless child sent away by his daddy so that the promise could come forth. Thank God, our Heavenly Father does not forget his children for He kept the promise to Ishmael.
Children from fatherless homes often face an internal emptiness that navigates from the mind to the heart then later explodes in the soul, struggling with abandonment and self-esteem issues, validation, feeling rejected, unloved, or unwanted. That emptiness can lead to using senseless relationships to try to fill the void on the inside, though it produces no fruit. Later, you learn that the internal void cannot be filled by man, success, status, money, or any worldly things, but God, who sees you as fearfully and wonderfully made, will heal you from the broken pieces so that you can live a purposeful life. For He said, when your father and mother forsake you, then the LORD will take care of you (Psalm 27:10).