I grew up in a family of women. My dad, grandfathers, and all but one uncle were deceased. My cousins were all girls. I had one brother and one uncle (who had no children of his own). My childhood was a good one. My family was warm and fun-loving, and I never doubted for a moment that I was loved. But the lack of men in those formative years, particularly the lack of a dad, definitely impacted my life and colored decisions I made as an adult. Some of those decisions were not very wise ones. Some of the ways not having a dad impacted my life I couldn’t even understand until recent years.
But I think my deepest regret is how I still struggle with knowing God as Abba. As Daddy.
The Week 1, Day 5, lesson in Living Beyond Yourself is on the Abba relationship we have with God when we are in Christ. Beth Moore writes, "Not only did we receive a new Father [when we became Christians], but we were invited to partake in a very distinct relationship with that Father… Abba is a term of extreme endearment expressed by a young child to his beloved father, his hero, the one who kisses his scraped knee and dries his fresh tears. Abba would be the word used only for a parent who was familiar, available, trustworthy, and comforting. Literally, it is ‘Daddy, my Daddy.’"
Easton gives this information for the term Abba: "This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated ‘father.’ It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence."
Those three verses referred to above are these:
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15)
I like the Message version of Rom. 8:15: This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6)
When I was a fairly new Christian, I asked God one time to help me know what it was like to be held in a father’s arms. And He answered that prayer. I literally felt His arms embrace and hold me. To this day, I can see where I was sitting when that happened. And yet, thirty years later, I can’t quite grasp what it means for God to be my Abba Father.
Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m loved by God. He’s shown me His love in so many ways. I trust Him as my Father. But I’m still looking forward to that moment in heaven when I will understand fully what it means to be with my Abba Daddy. The moment when I don’t feel that lack of a point of reference from my childhood. I think I shall climb into His lap and just stay there for a long, long while.
In the grip of His grace,
PS I discovered this cool Widget so that you can rank my blog posts. (Hat tip to From Where I Sit.)