In case you have been too enamored with election results to actually watch the “real” news, let me fill you in: rapper Lil Wayne is free at last!
Lil Wayne (Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.), was recently incarcerated for 8 months stemming from an illegal gun possession charge. As he partook in solitary confinement his album sales for I am Not a Human Being soared to No.1 on the Billboard 200.
Behind the mystique lies a heart-rending tale of modern times.
In addition to gun charges, Carter has also had multiple drug charges leveled against him.
To date, Carter has at least four children by three different women.
Even though he was an honor student, Carter dropped out of high school. (To his credit he is currently trying to complete an online degree)
At the age of 13, he accidentally shot himself with a .44 caliber gun.
Most of these events are just symptoms, pointing to a larger sickness. All of these circumstances have an origin in some way to the most tragic fact in Mr. Carter’s bio:
His parents were divorced when he was 2, after which his father permanently abandoned the family.
In a recent interview, Carter explained why he has dropped the “D” from his given name “Dwayne”, opting for “Wayne”:
“I dropped the D because I’m a junior and my father is living and he’s not in my life and he’s never been in my life. So I don’t want to be Dwayne, I’d rather be Wayne”. Asked if his father knew of this and Wayne replied with a smile, “He knows now.”
Behind the smile lies a little boy still needing his father’s affirmation.
The case of Carter is a case against our times. The prevalence of absent fathers is a scourge on our society.
As a father, all I can say is I don’t fully understand this tendency towards abandonment. I’d rather die a thousand deaths than miss my son’s first words, birthdays, football games, and other milestone moments .
I do know there are a litany of factors to consider: socioeconomic, educational, psychological, learned family traits, etc. But the prevailing factor behind it all can get lost sometimes in our philosophizing:
Sin. Sins of the heart.
Sin not only hardens our hearts against God and His revealed will, it hardens our hearts against people, even the people closest to us; our family. One of the first sins ever recorded in the Bible was a family feud that turned into premeditated murder.
It is cases like Carter’s that make me cling to one of the most compelling promises in Scripture. The very last written OT promise to the nation of Israel is found in the book of Malachi. It is followed by roughly 400 years of prophetic silence, until a carpenter’s son shows up on the scene to turn the world upside down.
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6)
In the NT, we learn John the Baptist came as a fulfillment of this prophecy (Luke 1:17). But there are also compelling reasons to believe there is a final “end times” Elijah that will be the complete fulfillment of this prophecy (Revelation 11:3-12).
Regardless, this prophecy hits at the root of the matter with an axe hammer. It’s a heart issue. All sins are.
Whether by overt acts of abuse, subversive attitudes of disappointment, or the act on trial here: neglectful abandonment. Apart from a turning of heart, all father’s are susceptible to this.
Children are not entirely innocent. This promise would apply to rebellious younger children, neglectful older children and children embittered by what they perceived as a rough childhood. Children must have a turning of the heart too.
If we want to see a revival in this nation, we must start with a reviving of families. It will start with broken families being broken and repentant before one another.
I long for the day when God fully restores broken families, even Lil Wayne’s. I long for the day men like him see freedom not in the context of a prison release, but in the freedom from sin found in Christ. True freedom that breaks every curse, and makes them the fathers, husbands and children that can revive a nation.