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God's Plan and Provision For the Single Parent

By Debbie Adebayo
Wisdom for Single Parents

Having single parents was never God's original plan.  Looking at the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see that God intended for two groups of people to be on this earth-married people with families and unmarried people.  In Genesis, he created the first single man followed by the first single woman and after a season of successful singleness by the man and the women, he united them in marriage and they started a family.  In God's original plan, He never intended to have single parents, just like he never intended to have sexual immorality, divorce, and death which are the three primary reasons there are single parents.  Does that mean God does not care about single parents or does not have a plan for single parents?  Absolutely not!  Whenever evaluating any situation for God's response, we must always take into consideration God's character.  God's response to the single parent keeps in line with his immutable character therefore He does not bring condemnation, but mercy and grace in plenteous quantities to meet the needs of single parents and their children. 


The first time the single parent was introduced was after the fall of man and it was a direct result of man's sin and disobedience.  In Genesis 12, Abraham, had been chosen to father God's special people.  Promises were made of a vast inheritance and a lineage so numerous they could not even be counted.  According to the promises, Abraham was to be the father of a great nation.  There was a problem, however, Abraham was eighty-six years old and his wife Sarah was seventy-six-and they did not have any children.  How would all of God's marvelous promises be fulfilled without a child?  


A custom of the day seemed to offer a way out.  It was acceptable, in that age, for a childless woman to offer her maid to her husband.  If the maid bore a child, the child would be accepted in the same status as a son born of the wife.  So Sarah sent Hagar, her handmaid, to sleep with Abraham.  The plan worked.  Hagar conceived.  A child was to be born of Abraham, so now God's promises could be fulfilled.  Doubting the promise God had made them, Abraham and Sarah took the situation into their own hands.  Many single adults are single parents today because they would not wait on God to manifest his promise and took the situation into their own hands. They became involved with relationships not endorsed by God, and sexual immorality-outside God's plan-and ended up with an unplanned and an unwanted pregnancy.  In this situation however, Hagar was involuntarily pulled into the relationship with Abraham and Sarah.  Some of you are also single parents not by your own choice, but because of situations and circumstances beyond your control such as abandonment by a spouse or death of a spouse. 


The Bible pictures Hagar in the desert having been cast off and rejected.  Hagar did what many single moms who have been rejected by men and in particular by the father of their children. In Genesis 21:16 we see Hagar opened her voice and wept.  I am sure the emotional pain she felt after Abraham's rejection was traumatizing and unbearable.  Many single mothers know this pain all to well. The thrill of the sexual encounter is over, the man is gone and you are left rejected and pregnant.


When Hagar was about to become a mother she fled from the cruelty of her mistress Sarah, intending apparently to return to her relatives in Egypt, through the desert of Shur. Wearied and worn she had reached the place she distinguished by the name of Beer-lahai-roi ("the well of the visible God"), where the angel of the Lord appeared to her.  This name has special significance for every single parent.  It is the place where single parents see God's provision.  This encounter with the angel of the Lord was during her pregnancy and she had another encounter with him when her child was older.  In obedience to the angel of the Lord, she returned to the tent of Abraham where her son Ishmael was born, and where she remained until after the birth of Isaac.  After Isaac was born and Sarah had her own son, she began to vent her dissatisfaction with Hagar and her child. Ishmael's conduct was insulting to Sarah, and she insisted that he and his mother should be dismissed. Hagar and Ishmael wandered in the wilderness, where Ishmael exhausted with his journey and faint from thirst, seemed about to die. Hagar "lifted up her voice and wept," and the angel of the Lord, as before, appeared unto her and she was comforted and delivered out of her distresses.  God opened her eyes to see the resources that were available to her.  In Genesis 21:19, she had a well of water from which to give her son a drink of water.  In Genesis 21:18, God also gave Hagar a plan for her son's future.  "Arise lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation."  In other words, I believe God was telling her that his plans included a significant future for her son and her responsibility was to prepare him for that future.  God responded to this single parent's cry and met the practical needs of her son, and gave purpose and direction for both of their lives.


If you are going to understand God's will as it relates to a single parent, you must examine where Hagar's focus was.  She never asked God to meet her own personal needs, she never ask God to give her a man, she never ask God to give her a better job, she recognized God alone was her source and she sought God on behalf of her child, not herself.  Genesis 21:14-20 says:


14.  So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba.

15.  And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs.

16.  Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, "Let me not see the death of the boy.'' So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept.

17.  And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is."

  18. "Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.''

19.  And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. Then she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.

20.  So God was with the lad…………………..


Hagar's focus as a single parent was on the welfare of her child and as she cried out to God on her child's behalf, the scripture says God heard the voice of the child - not Hagar's voice - the voice of the child (verse 17).  I believe this is of extreme significance to every single parent.  God responds to your cry and his response is first and foremost directed to the needs of your children and not your own.  Single parents that are pursuing relationships with men, women and even education at the expense of your child - you are missing your primary purpose as a single parent.  So no matter how bad you may feel you need a man or a woman in your life - God is not going to lead you to that person or relationship - if it is not what is best for your child and if you persist in trying to have one at the expense of your child this pursuit will prove disastrous to you and your children.  God will deal with you first and foremost as it relates to your children.  God will respond to your prayers and always answer them in keeping in line with what is best for your children.    God will make sure you have what you need in order to raise your children to serve him.  He will provide relationships, finances, and housing, whatever you need as long as your hearts desire and focus is on meeting the needs of your children first. 


Single parents put your trust in God and make sure the welfare of your children is at the top of your priority list and watch God be faithful to meet your every need bringing you and your children fulfillment and success.





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