My Father and Your Father

A faithful Father forever

Gina Wahlen
My Father and Your Father
Photo by Liane Metzler on Unsplash
Listen to the audio version here

Note: Many fathers will be honored on Father’s Day, and this article is not meant to detract from these faithful fathers. But for those who have not had the privilege of having such a father in their lives, this is meant to provide hope and encouragement from one who has been there. 

It was never an easy choice, standing in the Hallmark store staring at the selection of Father’s Day cards, trying to find just the right one. As I shuffled through the cards, my eyes caught glimpses of such words and phrases as kind, wise, protector, on my side, strong, generous—words I so much wished applied to him. But they didn’t. How could one find a card to honor one so dishonorable as my father?

A sly man, he lurked in the shadows for decades before finally being convicted as a felon—a child sexual predator with multiple counts against him. 

He was always scary—having one face at church and an entirely different one at home. Because he was charming yet unpredictable, we never knew what his next move might be. 

When I was 4 years old, my parents divorced, and for the next few years I lived with my mother. But when I was 8, darkness returned when my father snatched me from my mother’s porch and carried me across the country, forcing me to stay with him while cutting off all communication with my mother. Following custody battles, the court determined, despite my pleadings, that I would spend the three months of summer with my father and the rest of the year with my mother. This went on for years.

Fortunately, my mother had a very strong faith, and she instilled that faith in me at an early age. “I may not always be able to be with you,” she told me, “but God will always be there for you.”

And He was. 

Nevertheless, even while understanding that God “will always be there for you,” facing turmoil, trauma, and abuse can make it difficult to trust others—even God Himself. 

While there are no easy answers, the Bible itself provides a picture of a Father who is worthy of our trust. 


The concept of God as our Father permeates the Bible. In his final words to the children of Israel, Moses stated: “Do you thus deal with the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?” (Deut. 32:6).

Later God spoke to David through His prophet Nathan, saying, “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son” (2 Sam. 7:14). 

David embraced this promise, acknowledging God as “a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Ps. 68:5). 

This refrain is echoed by Isaiah: “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand” (Isa. 64:8; cf. Isa. 63:16).


During His earthly ministry Jesus taught His followers to embrace God as their heavenly Father.  

“When you pray,” He instructed, “say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Luke 11:2). 

In His sermon on the mount Christ repeatedly emphasized the love and care of the Father, and our calling to follow Him:

“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8). “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (verse 18). “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:11). 

Scripture records Jesus referring to God as “Father” more than 175 times, and it is always in a very personal sense—“my Father,” “your Father,” “our Father.” 

In Gethsemane we hear His multiple pleas: “O My Father” (Matt. 26:39, 42). And on the cross, following the agonizing cry of “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34), Christ still trusted the Father as He “cried out with a loud voice, . . .‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit’ ” (Luke 23:46). 

Following the resurrection, Christ assured His followers, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (John 20:17). 


This understanding of God as our Father continues throughout the New Testament. Paul begins almost all his letters with the familiar salutation: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7).    

Encouraging a strong connection with the Father, he writes, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’ ” (Rom. 8:15, cf. Gal. 4:6).

James, Peter, John, and Jude all highlight the Father’s care for us (see James 1:17; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 1:3; 3:1; Jude 1). In fact, in the little book of First John, God is referred to as Father 13 times. 

And in the book of Revelation Jesus assures us, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21). 


The Bible provides a powerful antidote to the sin and suffering that are inevitable in this fallen world. How thankful I am that despite very difficult circumstances, my mother instilled in me a strong faith in God and His Word. It was her example, her prayers, and her faithfulness in taking me to Sabbath school and church that enabled me to realize that, despite my earthly father, I have a heavenly Father who will one day make all things right. Rather than clinging to anger and bitterness, she taught me to believe God’s promise when He says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Rom. 12:19).  

In practicing the concepts learned at an early age, I have found that God is indeed a faithful and true Father—one who loves and cares for me, promising, “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ . . . ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer. 29:11, NIV). 

Today I am honored to call Him my Father and look forward to the time God’s children will stand on Mount Zion, with His name written on the foreheads of those who believe (Rev. 14:1). 

Gina Wahlen

Gina Wahlen is an editor and project manager in the Office of the President at the General Conference of Seventh-day Ad-ventists.