Dear ABBA, help me to find the best examples of loving fathers in this world and then to look beyond them and realize that if they, being basically evil can be good to their children HOW MUCH MORE OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN!
I’ve known people who love JESUS but have trouble with the idea of a loving and lovable father. I grew up in India speaking a language called Telegu. In this tongue, father is “Uppa”. I think this is THE FATHER’S favorite name.
Saying ABBA helps me to remember that he is the adult and I his little child. It is but my job to obey, to learn, to play and laugh and grow. He takes his child’s inadequate efforts and causes them to have significance. When I feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life, I picture myself climbing into his lap and telling him about my day and basking in his love and laughter and approval. I hear his rich voice call out to those I come in contact, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. LISTEN TO HIM.”
My DAD is an encourager, an appreciator of small efforts, a teacher who does not yell or roll his eyes. He loves to place his strong hands on the seat of my learner’s bicycle and steady me as I practice. Sometimes he just likes to hang out and be with me without having to go do great things and considers the time together well spent even if no fish bite. He is slow to anger, with heaps and heaps of mercy, and keeps in mind that I am but made of dust.
I remember when my oldest daughter was tiny, that her strong will had once again caused trouble. She was having trouble picturing how she could ever be God’s girl with all that stubbornness to overcome. I assured her that she could calm down, that I would help her stay gloriously stubborn, a character which I, her father, treasured in her, but help her yield her stubbornness to doing the right no matter what!
My heavenly ABBA says the same to me.
I remember when my son was berating himself for a less than perfect performance on a test. I assured him that his opinion did not count, his teacher’s opinion did not count, for that matter, his mother’s opinion, or his sister’s, because: I his father thought that he was a wonder-son no matter how he did on a test, AND MY OPINION TRUMPS ALL OTHERS.
My ABBA says the same to me, that when I condemn myself and wonder if I truly belong to him, I should comfort myself by saying, “heart, your opinion doesn’t count. Only my ABBA’S opinion counts and he knows more than I, he knows that I am his own!
I f you have a god that is distant, harsh, and eager to squash you, quick to anger and slow to mercy: exchange him for the real one, the one who loves his name ABBA!
ABBA, thank you for loving me so much. Help me to remember that, having given your firstborn’s life to ransom me, surely you will freely give me all else that I truly need, especially your love.