I am doing an Online Bible Study on the book Limitless Life by Derwin Gray. Throughout the book, he offers the reader things to think about. One of these, under the heading The God Without Limits, dealt with “a fatherless generation.” He was linking this to our need for our heavenly Father, but the statistics shared in this section are staggering! While I am not trying to take a position on the individual reasons for single parent families, there are some things that need to be tackled here. Tough things. Here are some of the issues Gray identifies:
Drug and Alcohol Abuse – fatherless children are at a greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse.
Behavioral Disorders – Eighty-five percent of all children who display behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
High School Dropout – Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
Prison – Eighty-five percent of all youths locked up in prisons grew up in fatherless homes.
Teen Pregnancy – Seventy-one percent of teenage pregnancies are to children of single parents. Daughters of single parents are 2.1 times more likely to have children during their teenage years than are daughters from intact families.
Youth Suicides – Sixty-three percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
Gender Confusion – Boys who grow up in fatherless homes are more likely to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.
Poverty – Children in fatherless homes are five times more likely to live in poverty.
Derwin Gray, Limitless Life
Again, these statistics are not presented to pass judgment on others for their decisions, but rather, as a call to action. All too often these problems are identified and there is a call for someone to fix it. This is an understandable reaction, but there is something missing: action. In general, we have become so accustomed to keeping to ourselves and looking to others to take care of problems, we lack the knowledge and/or courage to act on circumstances within our sphere of influence.
Derwin Gray credits the positive influence of coaches as father figures in his life. He notes the huge impact each person had on making positive decisions. God placed each person in Gray’s life and each person acted upon the call to be there for this young man. Do you react when God calls? Did you act when God tugged on your heart to help feed the family whose husband lost his job? Did you act when God urged you to converse with a young woman, not knowing this girl was on the verge of taking her own life? How about when God called you to help a city devastated by natural disaster? Maybe God has been calling you to foster or adopt a child in need? None of us is called to care for all of this, but all of us are called to care for something.
Galatians 5:13-14 says “ For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”‘ (NLT). God gives us a new birth of freedom when we believe, and this should cause us not to continue to gratify our sinful nature, but instead, we should be sharing the love that Christ gives so freely. We should not sit around in judgment of why someone is in their current situation, rather God calls us to simply help. We are called to use our blessings and gifts to serve others. Each person possesses unique gifts, so we can help others in unique ways. Do not use this as an excuse to avoid responsibility. Rather, embrace this as glorifying God with the gifts he bestowed upon you.
This post is not meant to pass blame or create guilt. It is my prayer that it will confirm God’s call upon you. I hope it encourages you that you are capable with God’s strength. I pray it reminds you that you are not called to do everything, only what God calls you to do. After Jesus ascended into heaven and the disciples were charged with spreading the Gospel, Acts 1:14 tells us first “they all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.” Should we not do the same? We should be in prayer looking for God’s call on our own lives, and in communion with other believers in order to gain strength and wisdom. God has given each of us the ability to know him and be in communion with him: through the Bible, through prayer, through interaction with other believers, through His creation and much more. Do not shy from the task in front of you.
I know that God has continually challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and help those in need. I would like to say I have stepped up eagerly in each circumstance, but that would be a lie. The truth is, I have become better at responding, but I still need to be more faithful. I must face the reality that I must be in communication with God more frequently and be even more mindful of the needs of those around me and more prayerful about my response. Surrounding myself with other Christians who take the command to love others seriously has made a huge impact! Going out of my comfort zone in my blessed life is hard. Most things worth doing are. I pray that you will take that step out and love others fully, if you are not already.
This is one of my favorite songs, and I hope it will inspire and encourage you too!