No one imagined my sister-in-law would soon have the task of raising three teenagers all by herself. Her whole world changed. Suddenly this huge task of bringing up three boys dawned on her; decisions, new responsibilities, especially with her income as a teacher, and above all her task as a single parent! If not for her strong faith and anchor in God, she would have crumbled under the pressure.
But thank God she had that anchor in Christ; a family that cared, and good friends who walked with her through her moments of pain. While these situations are forced upon some by death unexpectedly, some become single parents by choice. Parenting was not meant to be just a male or female role. Parenting involves both husband and wife. This is God’s design for families. It requires both male and female to have a balanced environment for a child to grow.
Any child born by the union of a man and a woman requires the minimum right and privilege to have both parents. All possible attempts must be made to make a marriage work to ensure these basic rights of a child are not denied. It has many times puzzled me to see the hardness in the hearts of some parents who are heading for divorce, who have no sympathy for their children. I remember one of my counselees saying with no remorse “That’s the child’s fate, to grow up with one parent”.
In a study done by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, two psychologists, on longevity discovered that parental divorce during childhood emerged as the strongest predictor of early death in adulthood. The grown up children of divorced parents died almost five years earlier, on average, than children from intact families. The causes of death ranged from accidents and violence to cancer, heart attack and stroke.
Parental break-ups remain, the authors say, among the most traumatic and harmful events for children. So any attempt against God’s plan for marriage is something to worry about. But in very unique situations of loss of life like that of my sister-in-law, the Bible reminds me that God Himself becomes their heavenly father and He cares for them. No wonder we were asked by Jesus to call God “our father in heaven” rather than calling him ‘grandfather’!
For children who have been abandoned by their parents, this is an eternal promise to hold on to. ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I (God) will not forget you! (Is 49:15) This is Gods promise for you. So start relating to your heavenly father and mother who cares for you and enjoy an eternal relationship with Him.