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A hole in the heart is never quite so big as when a father's love is missed. Like our innate need to know the God who loves us, our need for a father never goes away. Though death and divorce have made many children "fatherless," God promises that He will be especially close to these hurting souls. The key: recognizing that God is the loving father you always needed.

Father's Day

Single-parent families were not common in the 1950s, especially in the predominantly Catholic community of Niles, Ohio, where Velma Meares grew up. Kids as well as adults often inquired where her dad worked or where he was.

"He's dead," Velma replied, never getting used to saying those words. When people reacted in shock, Velma felt even more uncomfortable.

In Velma's first-grade mind, every problem was linked to her father's death--he had a . . .
A hole in the heart is never quite so big as when a father's love is missed. Like our innate need to know the God who loves us, our need for a father never goes away. Though death and divorce have made many children "fatherless," God promises that He will be especially close to these hurting souls. The key: recognizing that God is the loving father you always needed.

Father's Day

Single-parent families were not common in the 1950s, especially in the predominantly Catholic community of Niles, Ohio, where Velma Meares grew up. Kids as well as adults often inquired where her dad worked or where he was.

"He's dead," Velma replied, never getting used to saying those words. When people reacted in shock, Velma felt even more uncomfortable.

In Velma's first-grade mind, every problem was linked to her father's death--he had a heart attack when she was four years old. If only I had a dad, everything would be all right, she thought. Every night in bed she would lie in the dark and pretend that her dad was sitting next to her. Velma would tell him how much she missed him and whatever else was on her mind. She knew her father wasn't there, but after a while, she began to feel that Someone really was listening.

Velma's mother had been an alcoholic like her father, but about a year before he died, she convinced him to go with her to Alcoholics Anonymous. In this particular group, members acknowledged their total dependence on God to quit drinking, not just on AA or their own willpower. After the first meeting, Velma's mother never touched alcohol again.

To make ends meet, the widow with four children worked two or three jobs, sometimes on Sundays. One of her co-workers offered to take the children to church. There Velma realized God was the one overhearing her bedtime conversations. She stopped pretending to talk to her dad and began praying to her heavenly Father. As time went by, her mother went to church with the kids on the Sundays she wasn't working.

When she was seven years old, Velma experienced bouts of insomnia and began praying that she would be able to go right to sleep. After several nights, God spoke gently to her heart, "Don't you trust me? I love you. I know you're afraid. You don't need to ask me over and over every night."

During summer camp meetings when she was eleven, Velma trusted Jesus as her Savior. As the evangelist spoke, Velma's heart pounded. She wanted to be sure she would go to heaven, because she had learned that her dad had given his heart to the Lord in the hospital before he died. She wanted to make sure she saw him again.

When Velma was asked to teach a preschool Sunday school class after graduating from high school, she realized she had just been going through the motions of being a Christian for quite a while. To teach children about Jesus, she knew she needed to be closer to Him herself. So Velma made a new commitment to Christ. This gave her a hunger to spend much more time reading the Bible and praying.

College followed at age twenty-one. During her sophomore year at Southern California College, Velma met Dan Meares. When she married Dan, Velma was given not only a husband, but also a father--Bob Meares, her father-in-law. Finally Velma could celebrate Father's Day and talk about "my dad" like her friends had for all those years.

Shortly after their honeymoon, Dan and Velma invited Dad to spend a long weekend with them--he lived a few hours away in California's Central Valley. When Bob showed up on the doorstep, Velma hugged him closely and kissed his cheek. She could tell from the look on his face that her father-in-law was not used to hugs and kisses. Dan later told her that his grandmother died when Bob was thirteen, leaving him to be shuttled from relative to relative.

After learning more about Bob's background, Velma decided to just go for it whenever she saw Dad. It wasn't long before he was initiating the hugs, telling everyone within earshot that he was as pleased to have a daughter as Velma was to have a father. She had to be careful whenever walking through a mall with Dad. If she casually mentioned she liked "that blouse in the window," Bob would return later and purchase it as a gift. He loved surprising her.

During his last visit for Christmas 1992, he had a cold. The cold developed into pneumonia. Before anyone was aware of how sick he was, he died.

Velma felt an emptiness worse than before. All she could think was, once again, I don't have a dad. But in the midst of her grief, once again, her heavenly Father heard her cry and spoke to her heart, this time during a choir rehearsal.

The choir director's family, including his daughter, was visiting the rehearsal. Watching the father/daughter relationship reminded Velma all over again of her loss.

Then the choir began singing "He Is the Same" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

He is the same yesterday today and forever
His unchanging love is forever


God used the song to remind her that he was her heavenly Father when she was a little girl and is still her Father today.

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows--this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God sets the lonely in families" (Psalm 68:5-6).

You can read more "God Stories" online at
http://www.palau.org/godthing or request them by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Excerpted from It's a God Thing by Luis Palau (Doubleday). Copyright ? 2001 Luis Palau.
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