“Good Good Father,” by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown of the band Housefires, rose to prominence after Chris Tomlin’s wife heard it at a conference. She showed the song to Chris, who went on to record it. The song soon became a number one radio single and a staple of CCLI’s top-10 list.
Message behind the song
With so many people growing up with either physically or emotionally absent fathers, a large percentage of people long for a good father. That God is our Father is one of the most wonderful truths of the Christian faith, and this song has had a powerful role in restoring hearts to see him as such.
Pat Barrett wrote the song when he started thinking about how to teach his daughter about God. He said in an interview:
When I started having kids, and I’m looking at my daughter Harper Gray, […] I’m like, “How am I going to explain God to you? How am I going to introduce you to someone who so transformed my life? How am I going to tell you what he’s like?”
He goes onto say that the message resonated with people in his church and “helped create ‘a recalibrating of hearts.’” As “Good Good Father” continues to be sung in other churches around the world, this song is changing and reconciling the hearts of many to their heavenly Father.
Melodically, the song is very simple. It centers around three notes, like “Holy Spirit” does. It’s amazing how a simple melody has the ability to carry such a powerful message—the melody does just enough to stay interesting without getting in the way.
Musically, the chord progression of this song is unique. During the verse it stays on the one chord the whole time, giving a foundational and homey feeling. Then the chorus uses a chord progression unlike anything you’d find in CCLI’s top 100 songs, which gives it a fresh sound that worship leaders often look for in new worship songs.
Lyrically, the verses feel like pages torn out of a personal journal—very informal and conversational, almost uncrafted with the use of an undefined “they.” Simple is key when it comes to writing a song that will really land on hearts, and the writers of “Good Good Father” knew this well.
God as Father
Andrea Lucado’s song devotional is helpful in understanding the important themes in “Good Good Father.” Lucado describes how God is depicted throughout Scripture as Father, and not only that, but as good—and how through faith in Christ, we becomes recipients of all God’s goodness, since we have God as our Father.
You can recognize these themes in Luke 15 and Matthew 10, which tell the parables of the prodigal son, the lost sheep, and the sparrow. Each one gives a clear picture of how good our Father really is. He is loving and patient, he pursues us, and he cares for us more than we could ever know. As Lucado says:
The two truths that have the most transformative power in your life are that you are God’s child and God is a good Father. Tell yourself that today, over and over. It’s who you are, and it’s who He is.
How has “Good Good Father” impacted you? Please comment below to share your story.
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Photo by Max Goncharov.