They didn’t have their father’s here
by Andy Oldham
Published on June 15, 2024

They didn’t have their father’s here

Father and son met once during the fighting of WW2. When their paths crossed at a partially destroyed Okinawan farmhouse they exchanged news from home. The two family members returned to their work, and the war. They would never talk again. On May 7, 1945, while beating back a Japanese counterattack not far from Sugar Loaf, 19-year-old Pfc. Michael Fenton was killed. When his father, Marine Col. Francis Fenton, received the bitter news, he traveled to the site of his son’s death and knelt down to pray over his flag-draped body. Upon standing, he stared at the bodies of other Marine dead and said, “Those poor souls. They didn’t have their fathers here.” [1]

Most of us older grandfathers’ no longer have our fathers to enjoy. However, this short story reminded me of my granddaughter (10 this month), who does not have her father here to celebrate Father’s Day. She barely knew him. He chose drugs over her when she was just two years old. No one knows where he is. Even though he is not here, she still loves him and prays for him every night before bed. 

The Lord has blessed me with the privilege of being her father figure. As a grandfather, it is not something I planned. It changed all my retirement plans entirely. Having a young child is not easy at 74. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way! If you are in this station of life, and are unexpectedly raising grands, be honored! 

There are thousands of grandparents who are raising grandchildren. We know the world is in more satan-infested turmoil than ever before, and it will get worse. God placed you here for this time and this reason. “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” (Acts 17:26). 

Keep that in mind as you raise your grands. Perhaps this is the reason God chose you for this time in history. This is a boundless opportunity to share the Word, to encourage and build them up in the Lord, to teach, demonstrate the love of God, and an opportunity to demonstrate what a Christian man should be. There is much more opportunity now, than we had when we were working and raising their parents. Accept the will of God and trust His timing for all of this. I cannot think of another calling the Lord could have given you and me that would be greater than this. 

Like the Marines’ whose fathers were not there, we “are” here for our family and our grandchildren. I am honored, nervous and yes, scared that I cannot raise them properly to love God so that they will be able to stand against the coming darkness. But like the rest of my life, my hope is in Him the foundation of my faith. His grace “IS” sufficient!

If you are a family raising your grandchildren, be delighted that God would place your grands in your care and guidance. God does know you. And He does know what He is doing, doesn’t He? The Holy Spirit is in you. He will guide you, and teach you, and give you the right words at the right time. He will provide discernment to know how to handle any situation. He is always with you; do not be shaken, for He is right beside you (Paraphrased – Psalm 16:8). 

Be encouraged! Uplift others you know who are raising their grands. Be there for them with your presence, and in your prayers.

[1] Rare Historical Photo

Andy Oldham is the founder and co-creator of Christian Grandfather Magazine. He received his B.A. in religious studies and education from Anderson University. He has served as pastor to senior adults, and fills pulpits when needed. Andy taught memoir classes at the local library and after writing his personal memoirs wrote Everlasting Cronies, a story of growing up in rural Louisiana. His inspirational column in the Northside Sun Newspaper continues to be well received by his community. A poem, Winters Grace has been honored by the Mississippi Poetry Society. He and his wife, Barbara, have six grandchildren and enjoy retirement in Mississippi.

Image by Dan/Kelli Oakley from Pixabay

1 Comment

  1. Robert Arthur Marzullo

    Andy, those deceased soldiers were fortunate to have you be there for them when their dad’s were unable to be there for them. I can’t even imagine what their feelings were when they received word.


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