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Barbara Walking in the Valley
A bi-weekly column, featuring one Silicon Valley Christian's (a)musings on life's journey

by Barbara Dahlgren

The Ultimate Good Father
Column for the weeks of June 16-30, 2009

A day designed to honor fathers can be disconcerting for those whose memories of dad are far from pleasant. Many have fathers who mistreated, rejected or even abused them. Even more difficult is for them to transfer loving thoughts to one called God the Father and believe he has their best interest at heart. This leads some to view God as one whose primary purpose is to punish, reprove, penalize, chastise, rebuke, and condemn, rather than being a loving Father.

Those with fathers who were distant or absent during childhood may feel God is far away and disinterested. Those with fathers who continually put them down may feel they can never be good enough for God’s blessings. Those who only received attention when they behaved badly may feel God will never notice them unless they misbehave. Those who loved their fathers dearly but were hurt when that love was never reciprocated may be reluctant to openly acknowledge love for God the Father.

We are products of our past. Those who were fortunate enough to have loving physical fathers can find it easier to believe in a loving spiritual Father. It can be challenging for those whose formative years were marred with unpleasant memories of their dad to realize God is not like earthly fathers who disappoint and abuse their power. He is a good Father.

In fact, God is the ultimate good father. He is never too busy for us. He is always available and willing to give us his undivided attention. Rather than being quick to zap us when we get out of line, he is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. When we need discipline, he gives it lovingly – just enough to bring us into alignment with his will. He seeks not to control us, but to love us. He loves us even if we reject him. He believes in us, even if we don’t believe in him.

God is not distant. He climbed into our world to get even closer to us. Like one who stoops to look into the eyes of a child to better communicate with them, he came to us. He takes us by the hand and leads us through every stage of our lives. He laughs with us, cries with us, and is with us every step of the way. He never leaves or forsakes us.

His goal is not to lay down ultimatums so we will never measure up. He seeks not to condemn but to redeem (John 3:17). God is love. He is our Father. He loves us.

Does our view of God matter? I think it does. If we view him as harsh and foreboding we will be reluctant to surrender our will to his. If we view him as loving and kind, and having only our best interest at heart, we will want him actively involved in every aspect of our lives.

I’m reminded of a poem I read years ago. I don’t know the author but the sentiment rings true.

How blessed are the children
Who in their fathers see
The tender Father-love of God,
And find their way to Thee.

We live in a disillusioning world. People let us down. Even the best of human fathers will disappoint at times. They are not perfect. But there is ONE who is perfect. He will never let us down. He gave his only begotten son to die for us (John 3:16). His arms are always open to receive us, comfort us, be with us through life’s ups and downs, and give us that reassuring hug when we need it. He loves you and he loves me. He is our ultimate good Father.


Be sure to visit this page often to read the next edition of Walking in the Valley. You can write to the author at



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