I Have a Dad
DescriptionIn his classic book Knowing God, theologian J.I. Packer makes the following assertion about the fatherhood of God.
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God… Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.
In one of the Jesus’ most moving parables, the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32; this could also be called the Parable of the Lost Sons), we see salvation portrayed as the restoration of a family, the reuniting of a wayward son with his loving Father. This song draws its inspiration from this parable and attempts to help us remember what kind of father we have in the Lord – a Father who patiently endured our waywardness, even though it cost Him the life of His own precious Son. The word “Dad” is used instead of Father intentionally. When Jesus prayed, He used the Aramaic word “Abba” which translated literally would mean either Papa or Daddy, and His use of this term to address God would have been controversial at the time. The word is meant to show us the intimacy that we can have with our creator – He need no longer be simply the God of the universe, He can become our Daddy through the redeeming work of His Son.
LyricsI have a Dad whose love is free and boundless,
Who gave me life and cared for ev’ry need.
He never ceased to show His lovingkindness
Though I disowned His name in thought and deed.
Yet He remained so patient in my wand’ring
And drew me back with tender, sov’reign grace,
Then open-armed He ran to meet me, weeping
To see His precious child before Him face to face.
I have a Dad who gave His own beloved,
For me, the child who had renounced His name,
To suffer at my hands a cruel bloodshed
Then conquer death and rise to glorious fame.
He took my death and endless life He gave me;
I need no longer fear the mighty grave:
Born and adopted back into His fam’ly‚
A child, an heir, a brother, nevermore a slave.
I have a Dad who pledged to never leave me
Yet in the dark I fear to lose His hand;
If by His pow’r He ransomed and received me,
Then by His strength, in life or death I’ll stand.
He comforts me when I am sad and fearful
And leads me to my Savior’s precious side
Where I will rest, rejoice, and ever marvel
To have a Dad in whom my heart is satisfied.