What was your first memory of your father? Was he a good, kind, loving father, or was he cold, unloving, and abusive? My father was away from home a lot, and when home, he was all too often in a drunken rage. When I was a small child, we moved into the Projects, Duggan Park, at Paige Boulevard and Godwin Street in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. The buildings had been erected in the fall of 1951, mostly for veterans returning from World War II and who had little income.

Like many such housing developments, crime, drugs, and appalling violence pervaded Duggan Park. I remember the first week after we moved into our place: Our next-door neighbor hanged himself in desperation. We never went to bed hungry because Dad brought home food that he had scavenged from the local dump. He was working there at the time, and when food was thrown away, he would collect it.

My father did not believe I was his son and violently abused me, two times almost killing me. The second time, I awoke in a fetal position covered in my own dried vomit and crying out, “Why was I born?” My first thoughts of God were exactly the same as those of my earthly father: an angry, mean, judgmental entity whom I could never please and who would just as soon cast me into hell as not. When you have no memories of a good father, how can you embrace Father God and trust Him to be a Good Father?

Hopefully, you have not endured the physical or emotional pain that I have. You may, however, have experienced rejection and been wounded. It may be difficult for you to view God as a Good Father. My prayer is that God will open your eyes and spirit to how beloved and cherished you are.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. —1 John 3:1-2