DTC Stories

Defending the Cause: The Fatherless Void

Pastor Herman Aldridge, Providence Baptist Church Meadville, MS
Pastor Herman Aldridge, Providence Baptist Church Meadville, MS

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5 ESV

“When a boy grows up without his father he lives his life in ‘the fatherless void.’ Having grown up fatherless I can honestly say this term is totally accurate and it sounds as dark and lonely as Hell itself. Yet too often Christians turn a blind eye to those children whose lives are consumed by this ‘void.’ How shameful when we limit ourselves to carrying only for our immediate family. The love of God should pour out of us into the people we meet. When we see a boy who has been left behind by his earthly father then we, as Christians, should naturally step in and be his champions. Help him see how our Heavenly Father is not only his Champion but the only One who can fill ‘the fatherless void.’”

Pastor Aldridge’s parents divorced when he was four years old. Their divorce came because of his father’s alcoholism and the terrible violence that accompanied it. His mother moved him and his sisters in with her family and attempted to begin rebuilding their lives. Later that year his grandfather died. As he grew up Herman experienced what so many fatherless boys do, “the fatherless void”: questions about manhood that went unanswered; the realization that all his friends’ fathers were around while his was absent; trying to find personal worth and value but not knowing how.

Herman’s Uncle Bonnie Maher and Herman
Herman’s Uncle Bonnie Maher and Herman

Herman’s uncle stepped into his “fatherless void” and modeled what it meant to be a father. His uncle included him in the family as much as possible, as if Herman were one of his own children. While his uncle taught him about life when it came to the some questions about manhood he was told that was his father’s job. This left no man to explain these things, to mentor him through the struggles young men experience. This is not a unique experience for fatherless boys because it requires a man to commit to walking through all of life with him. Fathers in the Field helps men make such a commitment to a fatherless boy. Mentor Father’s commit to three years with a minimum of four times of contact each month: twice taking the boy to church, once serving widows and once mentoring the boy in outdoor activities, using God’s great class room to invest in the boy’s life. These men take intentional time to mentor the boy, teaching him about his Heavenly Father and helping to answer the questions boys have about growing into manhood.

For Herman, these unanswered questions followed him through school where he saw his friends’ father’s on a regular basis, which only served to deepen his wounds of abandonment. For fatherless boys these wounds are about self-worth and the pain carried by a heart unwilling to forgive their father’s abandonment of them. The “fatherless void” is filled with wondering what was so wrong with them that their father threw them away like so much garbage. This lack of self-worth is fed by an unforgiving heart that swears it will never forgive “that man” for leaving him, for throwing him away. Fatherless boys need a man to teach them about their infinite worth and value to their Heavenly Father. These lessons come as each Mentor Father establishes himself as a man the boy can turn to through all of life’s struggles. As the boy’s understanding of God’s love grows the Mentor Father walks with him on the long journey of learning to forgive his earthly father in the same manner in which his Heavenly Father has forgiven him. It helps them to fill the “fatherless void” with the love and forgiveness found in a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

On his journey through “the fatherless void” he called out to God daily, remembering what it says in Psalm 68:5 that God is a “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” This scripture kept him going whenever he wanted to quit. When his father died he attended his funeral and stood over his cardboard coffin, realizing this man was a complete stranger. “My greatest regret at the time was that I never forgave him.” Herman found the strength to forgive his father, to lead his family through the strength found in his Heavenly Father and to Pastor the church God has given him. His heart is to see that the fatherless boys in his community don’t struggle alone like he did.

Millions of fatherless boys across the country struggle daily with doubts about their worth and value; they are being driven forward by an unforgiving heart as they search for ways out of “the fatherless void.” These boys need Christian men who will boldly step into their lives and commit to walking through the struggles of life with them. The healing comes through the Gospel, but it is delivered through a life lived together with an unselfish man who is willing to walk that long hard road with him.

It is time to lay selfishness aside and imitate our Heavenly Father by being the champions of the fatherless. Contact us today and help a boy fill “the fatherless void.”