There were a lot of good Scriptures to focus on in today’s reading, but this one tugged at my heart:
A father to the fatherless, a defender [or protector] of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families… Psalm 68 5-6a
My dad died 20 years ago. My husband died 3 years ago. I am a fatherless widow.
God is my father and my defender now.
But I tell you, it has been a lonely road. When my husband died, our family had only lived in our new city 8 months – not much time to make close friends. And my closest family was a sister half way across the country. No parents, either.
It was a tough and exceedingly lonely time. Some days, it still is.
God graciously put me in a wonderful church community, but people are busy. They have family and obligations. Plus, I had to be there for my girls and the folks who work for me. I really looked forward to Mondays to be around people. As I said in the post two days ago, God carried me.
But I REALLY love that promise that God “sets the lonely” in families. He did that in a real way by giving me daughters.
But I still hope there’s more to that promise for me.
I heard a sermon online last night that gave so many examples about how God placed the lonely in families. I would like that. I would like to have another husband. I would like to be part of a big extended family one day. Because it’s lonely at the top (my job) and it’s lonely not having that other adult around all the time to talk to (my husband).
That’s the desire of my heart. [And I rarely use that phrase because I don’t want to negotiate with God: I’ll delight myself in you AND you’ll give me my heart’s desire, right??]
God did this before for me, placed me in a family.
When I became a Christian, my physical family didn’t exactly accomodate my faith. They called my church the “outer Presbyterian church,” making fun of it’s evangelical leanings. When I got out of sorts, I heard the repeated refrain, “If you were a Christian, you wouldn’t act like that.” I recently discovered several letters from my intellectual father deriding me for what he perceived as my anti-intellectual stance on creation (he assumed I believed in a certain view of creation, which in fact, I do not). I was mocked for my Biblical views on morality, including abortion.
But God took this girl – lonely in her family of birth – and gave her a new family, the family of Christ. My Christian friends from high school onward became my haven, my place of purpose, acceptance, and love. My Christian friends knew me, the real me. They celebrated me.
Jesus put it succinctly…
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, [Jesus] said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12: 49-50
I am so grateful for the spiritual family God placed me in, and if I never get that extended family through another marriage, I will always have my Christian friends.
And I will ALWAYS have my God, my father and my protector.
Dear Lord: You KNOW how much I want my heart’s desire – to be part of a new family here on earth. Yet you also KNOW what’s best for me – and that You can provide all the family I need through the church and especially through my relationship with you. For you are my friend, my father, my brother, and my husband. Help me to always find my satisfaction in You, no matter what else you bring into my life. Amen