The Father Who is Good
The truth is, there are some really great dads. There are dads who encourage their children, spend time with them, and speak life into their hearts. This dad believes in his kids and prays for them, doing all he can to help them succeed. Sure, he’s got flaws, but he has always been there physically, emotionally, and in many cases, spiritually. If this was your dad, you know that he listens to you and makes time for you, and you know you matter to him. He is the dad that you can call day or night, and he’ll be there to help. He is safe and you adore him. He’s a good dad, your friends love him too, and you couldn’t imagine better.
Sounds perfect, doesn’t he?
“There is an infinite and eternal difference between good and God.”
The thing is, he’s not perfect; no earthly father can be. He’s good, but he’s still not God. There is an infinite and eternal difference between good and God. While I sincerely wish everyone could have this kind of dad, there’s a chance that, if you did have this kind of father, it may have left you unaware of your need for a heavenly Father. You may come to God without fear or distortion, but having your emotional needs well met by your own father may have kept you from fully pursuing a deep relationship with God. Children raised by a good father might have, as adults, an overdependence on their earthly father to meet their physical and emotional needs. Daughters might struggle to let go of Dad as their main protector and provider. If you are the daughter of a good dad, you will have a tendency to compare your husband to your dad, and rarely will your spouse measure up. Other times, these children develop such high expectations of their fathers that they are overly disappointed when he cannot fix or prevent their problems. My daughter Katie, who was married in 2011, had some of these issues. We have been able to walk through it, and she is very happily married to a godly man named Jordan.
Relating to God When You Already Have a Great Father
I want to encourage good dads to keep making their children a priority. What you do matters so much. Your love, support, and provision will set your children up to reach their potential, no matter what choices they make. Simply do the best you can to lead them to Christ, and allow Him to be their ultimate source. You have done well! If you had the blessing of a loving, involved, encouraging father, I hope you will take the time to thank your dad if he is still alive. Good dads are just trying their best and are well aware of their failures. Although I made many mistakes, I have tried hard to be a good father to my children. I want their picture of a future spouse to be formed by how much I love and protect them. I still get it wrong, and no dad ever “arrives” or does it all perfectly except for God, the only perfect Father. No matter how good you think your dad was, he could still rattle off a list of how he could have done more, made more time, provided better, or something else. So bring honor to your father. The Bible is so clear that we are to honor our parents. Honor isn’t just what you do but also what you say. Take the time to send the card, to write the e-mail, to visit him and tell him. It matters so much to fathers to hear your words of encouragement back to them. I love what the Bible says about this: “We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2–3).
I would also encourage you to tell God how grateful you are that He allowed you, in all of His sovereignty, to be raised in a home that was safe, stable, encouraging, and filled with love. It is still a small minority of kids who would say they were raised by a great father. So thank God for the father He gave you.
Adapted from Distorted God by John Bishop by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.