Not My Father?


Yesterday, families across the United States celebrated Father’s Day. Maybe you did, too. Maybe not.

Perhaps you spent the day binge watching all five seasons of your favorite television program on Netflix to distract yourself from thinking about the loss of your father. Maybe you took in a sci-fi movie, filling up on popcorn in a futile attempt to forget that your own father’s behavior disqualified him from any father-of-the-year awards.

Few things are as heartrending as a father who betrays his child’s trust. Even more heartbreaking is that those betrayed by their earthly fathers often go on to reject their heavenly Father. It’s too painful for them to relate to any father figure, including God.

Father's DayMaybe your earthly father has been a blessing – a living picture of the relationship our heavenly Father wants to have with us. For others, earthly fathers may have been a source of harm. Regardless of our family circumstances, good or bad, it’s important for us to remember that God is our perfect heavenly Father.

The failure of earthly fathers has led to a dismaying movement in our society: the denial of God as Father. But if He is not our Father, then we are not accountable to Him. If we’re not accountable to Him, then sin is not a problem. And if sin is not a problem, then we do not need a Savior. The consequences of this rationale are more than terrible – they are eternal.

God isn’t just another imperfect father figure. He’s not a deadbeat dad, a philandering papa, or an absentee parent. He is the holy creator of the universe. He is faithful, righteous, and just. And He is always present, loving, and merciful.

God is not restricted by human sexuality, but He has chosen to reveal Himself in His Word through male images. He described Himself as both the Father of the nation of Israel (Hosea 11:1) and our Father (Matthew 6:9). He sent His Son, the second person of the Trinity to show us the Father (John 14:9).

The parent-child relationship we have with God begins with our relationship with Jesus Christ. John 1:12 tells us, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” We cannot become a child of God, with the privilege of calling Him Father, without believing in His Son, Jesus.

When we call God Father, the more intimate our relationship with the Lord, the easier it is for us to trust His character and His ways. Our heavenly Father may allow negative circumstances that could be painful in the short term, but although they may hurt, they will never harm us. The God of creation is also our Savior and Redeemer. He is always working for our ultimate good and for His glory.

Are you hurting this week? Glad Father’s Day is over for another year? Your heavenly Father wants to wrap you in His grace and fill your heart with the peace only He can give. Will you receive the love and grace He offers?

How have your experiences with your earthly father affected your relationship with your heavenly Father?

Ava Pennington

After a 20-year corporate career, Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. Her book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries. Ava has also written for numerous magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse. Her work has been published in 30+ anthologies, including 25 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Ava also teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. When she’s not writing and teaching, Ava enjoys playing with her mischievous 5-year-old Boxers, Duke & Daisy. For more information, visit

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook