Psalm 68:5-6 (New International Version)
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
There was a man who had spent two years in Vietnam and had barely escaped with his life. He spent all that time suffering in the most miserable conditions imaginable. But when asked what the worse thing he had ever suffered during his lifetime, he said this:
"I've raised my granddaughter for most of her life. Her father moved to another state and abandoned her when she was only a few months old. Due to a mental condition, her mother was unable to safely care for her. One time when she was about three years old, her mother took her from us to live with her and an excessively abusive man. We went to visit her in another city, and when we were about to leave, she began hysterically crying, reaching her arms out to me begging, "Papaw, please don't 'left' me!!!"
There was nothing I could do. Her mother insisted she stay with her. My wife and I cried all the way home, and many nights afterwards we would take turns staying up all night, crying out to God in prayer. I would have to say THAT was the worse pain I've ever suffered. When your (grand) child is hurting and wants to be with you and you are forced to forsake them...that is real suffering.
There is a happy side to my story, however. Shortly after that, she came to live with us again and we still have her. She is well adjusted and is a perfect student in honors classes. There was another Father who had to leave His Son for a brief period of time. His son cried out to Him from the cross, 'My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?!' I think I know a little about what God the Father felt at that moment when His Son Jesus needed Him, but He had to depart as Jesus took our sins upon Himself. Sin causes so much pain."
Perhaps it was that brief moment that Jesus knew that He would be separated from His father that caused Him to say these things to comfort us, as is recorded by the writer of Hebrews:
Hebrews 13:5 KJ (Emphasis mine) " Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will NEVER LEAVE THEE, nor forsake thee."
Though earthly loved ones may abandon us or leave us, God will not, no matter what the circumstances.
Some of you who are lonely and fatherless may not have a Papaw that loves you and will care for you. Or you may have been widowed and left alone, but we all have a Father that loves us, and who is there for us.
Dear Lord thank You for suffering as You offered Your Son, Jesus, for our sins. Your heart must have broken when You could not reach down to Him when He cried out to You! We praise You and thank You for being our Father and placing us into the family of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.