Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Abba, Father

The Life Group I’ve started attending uses the devotional book “100 Names of God” as a resource for study and discussion. When I first attended the group, and it was my turn to share about one of my favorite names for God, I shared that it is Jehovah Shalom – God, my peace. I went on to describe how the God of Peace has been so close and dear to me and I’ve realized that peace is my most treasured possession – one that I protect with everything that’s in me.

I was thinking about my Father God this week and remembered the time, when we lived in Shawnee, OK and I worked at Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative. I was in my early 30s and was their member services newspaper editor, before internet and the ability to send our projects via email for print, so I had to take my copy for print to Okmulgee, OK – about an hour’s drive away. On one particular day, I was feeling especially wimpy. I don’t remember why, but I do know that I was longing for a daddy (my daddy passed away when I was 15) to just be able to crawl up into his lap, feel his embrace and cuddles, and hear him say, “Everything’s gonna’ be alright”. As I drove, the tears began to flow as I almost immediately sensed God saying “Baby, I’m here” and I envisioned me crawling up into His lap as He spoke those comforting and loving words to me. It was then that I realized He is more than a Father figure Who is stoic, stern and untouchable. That day I realized God is as close as I welcome Him to be in my life. I realized a daddy’s intimacy with his little girl. He was WHO I needed Him to be at just that moment.

Galatians 4:6, says “And because you are sons (and daughters), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son (and daughter), and if a son (and daughter), then an heir through God.” Jesus came to earth and hammered home the Father/Child relationship to us. In His prayer to His Father, Jesus said, “And I have declared to them Your Name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26). What name was Jesus referring to? It was the name “Father”. If there was anything close to Jesus’ heart, it was to introduce God as “Father” to us. He even showed us how to pray "Our Father, Who art in heaven......"

Once, He said, “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!” (Matthew 7:11) Jesus wants us to always have this image of God in our minds —that He is our Abba, Father. Why? Because He wants us to know that there is nothing more important or too insignificant for the Father when it comes to His children.

Back to that image of a daddy with his little girl. What if a little girl had a splinter embedded into her thumb and never told her daddy about it, but just kept enduring the pain. Her daddy would have been so concerned that he’d ask, “When did you get this?” “A few days ago,” she would answer. He’d reply “Why didn’t you tell Daddy about it?” And what if she replied “I thought you were too busy and that I shouldn’t bother you?”

If you were that father, wouldn’t it break your heart to hear your child say this to you? A splinter may be a small thing, but there is nothing too small when it concerns our children because if it affects them, it affects us, too. And, here’s the very good news. No matter how old we are, we are still God’s children, so we should never think that our problems are too small for Him. If it is important to us, it is important to our Father, too.

I pray that today, wherever you are, and whatever you’re facing that you slow down long enough to go to Abba, Father and allow Him to hold you, embrace you and reassure you “Everything’s gonna’ be alright! I am with you, and I will always be here to remind you ‘You are mine and my banner over you is love.’ Trust Me. I’ve got this! And always remember…..Father knows best!”