Many Christian books, podcasts, and sermons have dealt extensively with biblical and life issues. For example, a simple search of the phrase “godly relationship or marriage” or “God’s way of raising children” on Google will leave you with a flood of articles and other content.
However, little has been said about God’s position concerning single parents and single parenting. In fact, you will hardly see a preacher step up to the rostrum to teach about single parenthood.
This, among so many other reasons, could stem from the notion that something is wrong with being a single parent. However, is that true?
Countless researchers have conducted several surveys with results pointing towards the dangers of a child being raised by a single father or mother. Their findings might be factual. However, as believers, the source of ultimate truth is the Bible. The Bible is our final authority and serves as our guide and instructor. Therefore, what the Bible says should be our reference point when talking about single parenting.
So, who is a single parent? We see several cases in the Bible that made people become single parents: death of a partner, inactive spouse, divorce, etc.
God is interested in having children grow under the watch and leading of a father and a mother. However, God’s compassion does not discriminate. He loves everyone and extends His grace toward them, whether they are single parents or a couple.
Also, any single parent that applies biblical principles on parenting in raising their children will get the same results as a godly father and mother.
We see examples of single parents in the Bible who did exceptionally well in raising godly children and fulfilling their roles as parents, even in the absence of a spouse.
Hagar (Genesis 16:1-14, Genesis 21:8-21)
Hagar was Sarah’s Egyptian slave. When Sarah felt God’s promise that she would give birth to a son was getting too late, she arranged for her husband, Abraham, to sleep with Hagar so she would deliver a son for him.
The plan worked, but Sarah soon became jealous of Hagar and mistreated her. A few years later, Sarah gave birth to Isaac and finally felt it was time for Hagar to leave so her son, Ishmael, would not become an heir to Abraham’s inheritance. Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness with only bread and water. She became a single mum overnight.
Hagar and her son were stranded in the wilderness without food or water. They were both famished and dehydrated, and it looked like her son would die. Hagar cried out, and God intervened. God heard her and provided a well of water for her and her son to drink.
We learn from this story that God hears single parents when they pray to Him. He cares for them and their children and would not allow them to suffer. God proved Himself to be the Father of the fatherless in this situation and played the role of a provider (Psalm 68:5).
Tamar (Genesis 38:1-30)
Tamar was Jacob’s daughter-in-law. She devised a plan to sleep with her father-in-law after she lost her two husbands, Er and Onan, both Jacob’s sons and was sent away with the promise that she would be given the third son. When she realized that the promise was only a strategy to get rid of her, she disguised herself as a harlot, slept with Jacob, and gave birth to twins Perez and Zerah.
Jacob acknowledged that the twins were his but didn’t marry Tamar. So, she was left alone to cater to her two sons.
The Bible doesn’t give an account of how she raised her children, but we see the name of one of her sons, Perez, in Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1).
We learn from this experience that God’s divine plan includes everyone, including those from broken homes. Also, Tamar must have done a fantastic job for God to choose one of her sons as a direct ancestor of Jesus.
Naomi (Ruth 1-4)
Naomi had a unique experience. She lost her husband and two sons within a short period. She became bereaved and lonely and had to return to her country, Judah.
This meant that her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, had to return to their parents in Moab. Orpah hugged her and left, but Ruth insisted she would follow Naomi to Judah. She further declared to Naomi saying,
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).
Ruth became Naomi’s daughter. Ruth was a Moabite who worshipped Chemosh (1 Kings 11:7, 2 Kings 23:13). Denouncing Chemosh means Naomi was responsible for teaching Ruth about the God of Israel and His ways. Therefore, Naomi fulfilled in the scripture in Proverbs 22:6.
Through Naomi’s guidance and instruction, Ruth got another husband, Boaz. They gave birth to Obed, who became a part of Jesus’ genealogy. Obed was the father of Jesse, the father of David (Ruth 4:22). And Jesus is the Son of David (Matthew 1:1-17).
This story shows that God is not against a single man or woman adopting a child and training them well. Naomi did an excellent job with her adopted daughter, and people who saw how well Ruth turned out acknowledged she was better than seven sons (Ruth 4:14–15).
Training a child with a partner for balance and support is good. However, being a single parent doesn’t mean you are a failure. When you rely on God and His Word, you’ll receive grace and the capacity to fill the void left by a spouse. It is the Lord who helps and gives one insight into raising godly children that will serve Him and be valuable members of society.
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