by Cindy Beall

My dad stood 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed 240 pounds. He was a large, imposing man, but in many ways he was the gentlest soul you’d ever meet. And even though I stand close to 5’11”, I was incredibly intimidated by him.

I became well acquainted with grief when I was 18 years old. Within two months of my high school graduation, my dad was given the cancer sentence. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, to be exact. My father’s body was being overrun by a cancer of the white blood cells. My dad’s 8-month battle with cancer was difficult and taxing – for all of us. He seemed so tired, so defeated, so broken. And on March 21, 1990, after many complications, he took his last breath and was ushered into the presence of Jesus.

I was thrown into adulthood with his death. It wasn’t that we were incredibly close, but now I no longer had the option of asking for his advice and opinions as I ventured into my college and adult years. I would miss out on having him at special occasions like my college graduation, my wedding, and the birth of my sons. Oh, he would have loved his grandchildren.

I’ve lived more of my life without an earthly father than I did with one. I have forgotten so many things about him and often try to take myself back to the days when he was still with us. If I concentrate really hard, I can remember the days on the lake with my dad pulling my brothers and me on water skis. I can remember him dancing with my mom in the living room. I can remember him sitting in the stands at all of my sporting events and choir concerts.

Out of that experience, I came to know God in a new way. Since I was 8 years old, He’d been my Savior and my Lord, my comforter and provider, but at that time, He truly became my Father. The scriptures are laced with references of Him being our Heavenly Father. I love that 1 John 3:1 says that He lavished His love on us. But I suppose the verse that has comforted me and has come true for me is Psalm 68:5 NLT, which says, Father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

I would have never asked for this experience, to become a partial orphan at the age of 19. But I can tell you now, well over two decades later, that had this not happened, had my dad not gone home to Jesus, I might not have known God as the Father that He is.

Maybe you are feeling overlooked, abandoned or lonely right now. You feel that no one sees you, no one cares and no one will comfort you. Not only does Psalm 68 NLT say God is a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows, it also says that He places the lonely in families and sets the prisoners free.

Friend, God sees you. He has not forgotten you. You have not been overlooked by Him. He is intimately acquainted with your entire being – hopes, fears and dreams. He is the only constant in our lives. He is the only One who will never leave us or forsake us no matter how many lies our feelings try to get us to believe. Stand on the promises of God above all else.

Who has God become to you in your life through your hardships and trials?

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