AWKWARD MOMENTS: SPEAKING LIFE INTO THE FATHERLESS
By Tim Popadic
Each year in our high school the fathers of the graduating class come together for a Father and Son BBQ (which is really code for “life-sized Jenga, cornhole and really good food.”) However, there is also the random possibility that fathers will be encouraged to share their feelings (a rarity), which could lead to some tears. And this year, there was no shortage of tears as each father prayed blessings over his son. The thought occurred to me, “What about the boys without fathers?” It was almost an afterthought, as if someone else should worry about them, but today is about my son and me. That’s when God nudged me…
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling”(Psalm 68:5).
I looked down at our table and realized that my son’s best friend, Kevin, was sitting next to him. I remembered when Kevin’s dad got sick and passed away almost 5 years ago. I also remembered the promise I made to Kevin to be there for him when he missed his dad and during those times when he needed his dad. In that instant I flushed with memories of the past 5 years and the time I had spent pouring into this young man’s life – taking him to movies, vacations, birthday parties, and even giving him his first job. Now here we were at this awkward moment when he needed his dad more than anything.
I stood up and spoke a blessing over my son, and then the Lord impressed on me to pray a prayer of blessing over Kevin as well. These words came out of that moment, “Kevin your dad (Nasser) was a strong, gentle, and kind man, and you have become strong, gentle, and kind just like him, and he is very proud of you.” It was nothing rehearsed and really simple, and yet in that moment Kevin could not hold back the tears. He was a mess, and sure enough so was I. In that moment I was reminded once again of the impact that a father has on his sons. Those words of affirmation are so critical, especially in those pivotal times when they need to be heard. After that blessing I gave Kevin a man-sized hug and just told him over and over that his father loved him and so do I.
My challenge to you, Pastor… Who are the fatherless among you that God has called you to shepherd? Do your words speak life-affirming value to them? Perhaps you can look them in the eyes and remind them that their father is proud of who they have become and that their Heavenly Father loves them very much. You’ll never know the impact that a simple word of life spoken at the right time can have.
Posted June 12, 2015. Focus on the Family. Copyright 2015. Used by Permission.
Tim Popadic is the National Director of the Relationship Enrichment Collaborative. He is a trained Marriage and Family therapist and speaks nationally at conferences and workshops on being intentional in relationships. Tim and his wife Beth have been married for 20 years and have 4 boys.