To the Foster Dads:-
To the men in our community who are shepherding the wonderful kids growing up within our families.
As we celebrate this Father’s Day, I want to turn your attention to an ordinary bloke just like us, who, working with the Lord, did extraordinary things, including being a father to the fatherless and helping raise and provide for a child that wasn’t his biologically, but was very much in his heart.
According to Scripture, in James 5:17, Elijah was a man with human nature just like us.
In 1 Kings 17:8-16 he was told by the Lord in the middle of a drought to go a widow and her son and that the Lord would use her to provide for Him.
The truth was, she had nothing to give, but just enough flour and oil to make herself and her son one last meal before they starved to death.
In those days, women weren’t educated as they are today, and when a husband or father died it was extremely difficult for widows and orphans to survive.
But, the Lord did an extraordinary miracle. And the widow’s handful of flour and jar of oil never ran out, so Elijah, the widow and boy were miraculously provided for.
But as a carer on Father’s Day, I want to look at this story from another perspective, a fatherly perspective.
The widow and her boy were not only being provided for with oil from the Lord, but because of the prophet Elijah they were provided with a type of husband and father figure in their lives.
The young man lost his dad, but the Lord provided a father figure in Elijah. I imagine that Elijah would have taught the boy many things, certainly how to trust and walk with God but perhaps he taught him how to fish, maybe defend himself, and other things we do with our kids.
Elijah was tough… He lived in the desert for many years. He was used to confronting tyrants who were oppressing innocent people.
He wasn’t superhuman though.
He was just an ordinary bloke like us.
He suffered depression, he was intimidated by a very wicked and manipulative woman, and at times he ran from his problems, but in all of that, the Lord still used him mightily.
One of the mighty ways he was used that is often overlooked in the stories that we share with our kids, is that he was a father figure to a boy who desperately needed him.
He even stood in the gap for the boy’s life and the Lord raised him from the dead!
He was called to be a shepherd to a family that wasn’t his.
This is the very heart of God - that we would be adopted into His family through Jesus Christ.
So, men who foster, I want to honour and encourage you in what you are doing today.
Some of you are kinship carers, others respite carers, long-term, short-term carers, and adoptive dads.
I salute you all, and I know the Lord is working through, in, and with you, to do amazing things.
God bless you for all you do.
And Happy Father’s Day.
Col Atkinson (ARK Leader, NSW)