It was a blustery, cold November day in Pennsylvania as I preached my Father’s funeral. Many Pastors have officiated the final service for their parents, but this was different. Standing at the cemetery that day were family members and friends that knew the real story.
You see, some 60 plus years before, a three-year-old little boy heard a door slam shut, and his Dad was gone. The resulting divorce created a single parent home, a kid growing up without a Dad, and all the resulting issues and hurts that come from it imbedded in a young heart. That divorce many years ago was still pretty much socially unacceptable, and the children of divorce often felt that resentment. Down deep in the heart that young boy began a life long struggle with feelings of rejection, abandonment, insecurity, a struggle to believe that he could be loved by anyone and a feeling that even God couldn’t love him.
The young boy’s mother was a strong Christ follower. She was a Registered Nurse, and she did everything she could to make a home and raise that boy to love the Lord. They moved in with Grandparents, and life went on. There was school and church every Sunday, but those nagging hurts deep in his heart never seemed to dissipate. No one really seemed to notice. Like many children of divorce, this young boy buried his difficult emotions deep inside. Most adults assume(d) that “kids will get over the divorce”, but the truth is quite the opposite. Heart damage is not something that heals overnight, and today there are thousands of adults who are still struggling from their fractured family.
Over the years, that young boy grew into a man himself. For all of those years though “Dad” was simply gone. There was never a birthday gift or even a card, no Christmas gift. He missed his Son’s baptism, High School Graduation, and even his wedding. He was indeed fatherless. The Son went on to college at Penn State and then heard the call of God for ministry. For the next 5 years he prepared for ministry, and eventually became a Pastor.