So there I was, awake and up at 1:35 am, and I’m crying like a baby. Guess what I was doing? Those of you who know me well (and those who have been following my blog for any length of time) don’t have to guess. I had you at “crying like a baby.”
So… I’ve been listening to this new song (new to me, anyway) that has completely overtaken me. It has moved passed my defenses- my arguments and reasonings– and I am completely ‘undone’ by it whenever I hear it. It has conveyed a truth to me that is so very simple, and yet so utterly profound, that I’m not convinced that I will be able to adequately convey it to you in such a way that it impacts you and affects you in the same way it has done to me… but I’m going to give it a go anyway. 🙂
The name of the song is Good, Good Father; simple enough. It conveys the idea that He (God) is a good Father. Whatever else you may have experienced of “fathers” in your life– good, bad or indifferent… it does not hold true with THE Father in Heaven. He is not evil or capricious or temperamental; He is a good Father.
I decided to look up some definitions of ‘good,’ and there were a quite a few good ones to find (no pun intended; seriously). I’ll just highlight a few (these are taken from merriam-webster.com):
1(a) 1.of a favorable character or tendency 2.Bountiful, Fertile 3.Handsome, Attractive
(c) 1.agreeable, pleasant
(d) 1.of noticeably large size or quantity 2.Full <waited for a good hour> 3.used as an intensive <good many of us>
(e) 1.well founded, cogent(possessing power) 2.true 3.honorable
2(a) 1.virtuous, right, commendable 2.kind, benevolent
(c) competent, skillful
(d) 1.loyal 2.close <a good friend>
Well, let’s dive into the song, taking a look first at the verse one:
“I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like;
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night.
And You tell me that You’re pleased, and that I’m never alone.”
And then the chorus:
“You’re a good, good Father;
It’s Who You are,
it’s Who You are,
it’s Who You are.
And I’m loved by You;
It’s who I am,
it’s who I am,
it’s who I am.”
I hear this and I begin to weep because, well, I’ve had this kind of thing happen to me. I have in my mind the idea of Who God is: God is sovereign. God is Lord. He is King, He is righteous, He is holy. God is opposed to sin, and He’s opposed to the wicked; but He blesses and upholds the up-right, the righteous, those who walk and follow after His ways– I think you get the tenor of where I’m going with this. This is who God is to me; and all of these things are right, they are true. So when I think of “good,” this is usually what I’m thinking of. But this lyric is speaking of something different. And I’ve had this happen to me as well, where I feel so lacking, so short of the mark. I don’t feel like I’m up-right, I don’t feel like I’m righteous, I don’t feel like I’ve walked according to His ways. I feel like I’m cut off, separated. I probably wouldn’t say it, but that’s what I’d be feeling inside of me. Then, God, like He did with this song, comes in unawares, and allows me to understand something. I hear His “tender whisper of love” in the dead of my night, and He says, “I’m pleased,” and that “I’ve not left you; you’re never alone.” You see He is a good Father. He is a good Father in that He doesn’t forsake us. He says in holy writ that He “will never leave or forsake” us (cf Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5).
But the lyric that really, really, REALLY ‘took me apart’ and just overwhelmed me, with the flood of thought that came with it, was actually the bridge in the song, which simply says:
“You are perfect in all of Your ways,
You are perfect in all of Your ways,
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us.”
Now, I got to thinking: OK, so God is perfect in whatever He does. Whatever He does is right and good and pure and righteous and holy… and He is perfect in all of His ways towards us. Well, what I’m hearing is that God is good, and kind, and merciful, and benevolent; and that THIS is His PERFECTION towards me. Now, when I’ve thought of God being perfect, I’m thinking He’s a God that judges sin, and upholds righteousness, and is lawful, and all these other things. And, again, these things are true. But I was missing something, and God was trying to get this across to me: “I am perfect towards you. I am a GOOD good Father; I’m not just good; I’m a GOOD good Father.” We often double a word, an adjective, in order to emphasize a point; we use it as an “intensive.” “I am a GOOD good Father, and I am perfect in My ways, I am perfect in my goodness towards you.” Or, to put it another way, “The demonstration of My perfection shows up in My goodness towards you; not necessarily in the ways YOU often think. YOU think, Lemuel, that [in My perfection] I should be judging you or punishing you or holding you to some higher standard (and I DO hold you to a standard). But from MY side, MY perfection demonstrates itself in your life as the GOOD, good Father; the benevolent Father, the virtuous, kind Father, the loyal Father, the Father Who is close and favorably disposed towards you, the loving Father. That is how I demonstrate my perfection towards you.”
I bawled like a baby, I wept, I was overcome by the incredible power, the incredible intensity, and weight of glory that was behind this, that God is good towards us, and His goodness is the manifestation of His perfection; His perfection is goodness towards us. I don’t know that I’m adequately getting this across, but I hope you get this, that God is a GOOD good Father, and He is good toward you. His love for you is the demonstration of His perfection towards you; He is perfect in all of His ways to you; and His way toward you is goodness and love.
Why is this so important? It has to do with what some have called “the beholding principle”, that is, you become like whatever you fill your eyes and thought with, and you will communicate to others the same.(1) We are to be imitators of Christ Jesus(2), and Jesus shows us what the Father is like (3). I’ve held in my sight too many things that “posed as God” that were not, and I shudder to think how much of that I have reflected to others. I think this is why God, in His mercy, is working so tirelessly to reveal Himself to me as He truly is, so that I really “get it”, not just in my head, but in my heart. The most loving thing that God can give us is Himself, in order to change us to be like Himself, and thereby be filled with love and joy unspeakable!
“Love so undeniable, I can hardly speak!
Peace so un-explainable, I can hardly think!
As you call me deeper still,
As you call me deeper still,
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love!”
Well, I know of no better way to close this out than to share the song with you. So here is “Good, Good Father” from Housefires II, featuring Pat Barrett (Pat Barrett & Tony Brown, c. 2014 Housefires. Barrett Daddy Music and Lion Dens Family Music).
1. No time to unpack this now; check these references: Exodus 34:29-35 w/2 Corinthians 3:7-18
2. 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:14
3. John 14:6-13