About one quarter of the men on Old Providence Island are gone, and in many cases their families have no idea where they are. They are not vanishing into thin air. These Caribbean islanders are excellent mariners, and, being technically part of the country of Colombia and lying off the coast of Nicaragua, they have been swept into the net of drug trafficking. Very often, they are hired as pilots of “narco-speedboats.” If they successfully deliver their load, they make thousands of dollars. If they fail, they go to jail. Old Providence veteran journalist, Ampara Ponton, says, “There are families where the great-grandfather, grandfather, father and son are imprisoned” (via BBC.COM).
The impact of these “vanishing” husbands and fathers is incalculable. Children grow up without having a daddy to train, guide, and provide an example for them. Wives are deprived of helpmeets.
This mirrors a figurative epidemic that has been in place in many cultures, not only in our day but in days gone by. One derogatory term for this is “deadbeat dads,” those who sire children but are uninvolved, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially, in their lives. This dysfunctional model spreads its influence in society causing further dysfunction.
Yet, too many homes have men who are physically present but spiritually absent. They do not provide spiritual guidance, do not study or model the Bible, never pray in their family’s hearing, show no interest in or commitment to the way of the Lord, and prioritize one or several things before the kingdom of God and His righteousness. These have not technically disappeared, but they are spiritually invisible.
We cannot forget who God holds most responsible for the direction of the home. Asaph says God told the fathers to tell their children about God and His work (Psalm 78). Fathers are to bring up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). In both testaments, God commands fathers’ presence, making right and lasting impressions upon their families. Husbands and fathers, let’s do our best to be present and impactful in the lives of our families as faithful stewards of this charge. Eternity hinges upon it!