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Louie Giglio: How God Is the Perfect Father for a Fatherless Generation

Louie Giglio: How God Is the Perfect Father for a Fatherless Generation

It’s no secret that fathers greatly impact their children’s identity and shape how they navigate life.

Yet, fatherlessness is as an American epidemic. The National Fatherhood Initiative cites a 2022 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, showing 18.4 million children, or 1 in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. Fatherlessness happens for many reasons—many of which may be out of a family’s control. Still, the impact is clear as numerous studies link fatherlessness to a variety of social issues including depression, incarceration and poor academic performance.

Beyond just having a father present, a recent study in Psychology Today explores the need for a father’s approval, even at the stages of life where we have matured and reached levels of success. In her article, “Daughters and Dad’s Approval,” Dr. Peggy Drexler writes:

In my research into the lives of some 75 high achieving, clearly independent women, I knew that I would find powerful connection between them and the first men in their lives. What surprised me was how deep (and surprisingly traditional) the bond is, how powerful it remains throughout their lives, and how resilient it can be— even when a father has caused it grievous harm. No matter how successful their careers, how happy their marriages, or how fulfilling their lives, women told me that their happiness passed through a filter of their fathers’ reactions. Many told me that they tried to remove the filter and— much to their surprise—f ailed. We know that fathers play a key role in the development and choices of their daughters. But even for women whose fathers had been neglectful or abusive, I found a hunger for approval. They wanted a warm relationship with men who did not deserve any relationship at all.

Dr. Frank Pittman, author of “Man Enough,” writes, “Life for most boys and for many grown men is a frustrating search for the lost father who has not yet offered protection, provision, nurturing, modeling, or, especially, anointment.”

That word anointment refers to being chosen, blessed . . . approved. We are all desperate for our fathers’ approval. But it’s not always there.

Without this approval, we can feel given up on, abandoned, deserted, or disowned. We can feel ignored or isolated or jilted or judged. There’s some kind of thirst we can’t quench on our own, a hole we cannot fill no matter how hard we try. This void, this lack of a father’s presence and approval, can feel like a shadow that is always there, an intangible missing piece we don’t even know how to find. In the words of Dr. Drexler, our happiness or satisfaction or contentment or peace still passes through “a filter of [our] father’s reactions.”

While your life story to date may be a tangled mess of betrayal, disappointment, and defeat, history records that the God of heaven is for you. He made you. He sees you. And He wants you to know the joy of being a child of God and of having the most excellent father possible.

God is far better than any earthly father, especially the one who left a broken relationship and a broken heart in his wake. It’s not the same as having your dad back or having him become a different kind of father than he was or is. But the blessing God wants to give you is not to be discounted. In fact, the blessing of Father God is actually way beyond any human relationship.

Our mental image of what a father is like is mostly learned from our earthly fathers. I know this, and I get this, and I want to be sensitive to you and what you’ve been through and are going through with your dad. I don’t want to minimize in any way what’s happening right now when I say “father.”

Please know if that word pushes on a nerve, or exposes a hurt, I’m not doing that without a lot of grace and care. I want to give you room to cry, to be mad, to set the book down and think for a while— to wonder and ponder and journal and take your time processing what God is saying to you. Yet, I also want to resolutely and lovingly and biblically point you to this amazing truth: that the knowledge of our identity as sons and daughters of God unlocks prison doors, heals wounds, and propels us into greater purpose in our lives.

The best possible earthly father giving the most excellent blessing can’t compare to the smile of your heavenly Father. His love is supernatural and powerful, unending and unassailable. And His love means this for us:

No one who knows Him as Father will be left behind.

No one will be orphaned.

No one will go unwanted.

No one’s story will end with abuse and betrayal.

No one will have to live without a father’s love.

No one, ever.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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