Summary: Yes, there is help for the widow and the fatherless!
No, this not a Masonic or Mormon article but a reflection and praise to God for caring for this son of a widow woman. I am sure I have thought about it before but this morning it came to me that God has surely done wonderful things for me before I even cared to know Him and indeed while I cursed Him.
My father was killed in a car wreck in July, 1959. He would have been 29 in November and I would be 7 that September. I was nearly killed. I have a horseshoe shaped scar on my head. They say if the wound had been another half inch deeper I would have been killed. Mom fared better with just some minor cuts and scratches.
If seatbelts had been invented Dad may have survived and I might have been uninjured. Yet, in January 1970 I was in a car accident where I would have been killed if I would have had my seat belt and shoulder harness buckled. They drove my Dad’s car away and mine was totaled. Only God could have spared the six of us in the overturned Camaro with the roof smashed down even with the seats yet God allowed my Dad to die. Only He knows completely why.
Raising a child alone is never easy but in many ways it was rougher in the 50s and 60s than it is today. There were few, if any, support groups and no entitlement programs. Mom found solace and social life in the bars. I may have learned how to play shuffleboard and the jukebox before I could tie my shoes. Though she was the baby of seven, Mom didn’t get a lot of support from her family as they had plenty of issues of their own. At times it seemed like she was the black sheep of the family and that made me the son of the black sheep.
Ex 22:22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. KJV
While most folks in the towns that I grew up in would have called themselves Christian or religious I would have to say that many did not read this verse. I say towns because we did move a lot for various reasons. I had trouble in school and got beat up a lot by students and teachers alike thus the only recourse was to move. Schools didn’t listen much unless you were a doctor, lawyer or someone in the upper strata. Mom’s problem with alcohol did not help either. In those days, you sneered at the problem rather than help the person. They wondered why I had a problem with authority back then. Go figure.
Prov 23:10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: KJV
Unfortunately, there were also many who took advantage of my Mom’s good heart and naiveté getting her to give them some of what little money she had and never paid it back often lying about even borrowing it. Instead of leaving gleanings in the fields for the widow and fatherless as Scripture commands they gleaned our field without any concern for either of us.
Ps 146:9 The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. KJV
In spite of Mom’s problems, unscrupulous people and my struggles with the loss of my Dad and my lack of social and self-defense skills God did provide for us in many ways because we never lacked food, never lacked for a place to live and never went naked. Though some would have called us poor White trash we lived better than many others we knew in those days. He relieved my widowed Mom in ways we will never know until that final day.
He did all this when neither Mom nor I were saved. We were somewhat religious, but for many years I cursed God for killing my Father and putting Mom and I in the mess that we found ourselves. I hated being the only child because I was so often alone and felt like I had to buy my friends but didn’t have the resources to do much of it. Indeed, when I had my Camaro I had lots of friends but they disappeared when it was gone.
My self image was not very good. I suspect the beatings, the unearned reputation and being voted most likely to be in jail didn’t help that much. I was often accused of things I didn’t do which inspired me to do some other things since it did not seem to matter what I did as I would be punished or under suspicion anyway. I figured if I was going to get the blame and shame I might as well play the game. Ironically, the kind of things I got in trouble for compared to what kids do today would get me voted most likely to succeed if I were in the class of ’07 instead of ’70. They would be considered trivial pranks not the signs of a malevolent nature.