“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.”–Jesus, as quoted in Mark 14:36 ESV
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” –Romans 8:15 ESV
When my brother Pete was in high school, he was returning home after a date when he ran into a stone wall. Now, it wasn’t a tall, stone-and-mortar wall, but a short wall built with stones laid one on top of the other. The car didn’t have much damage to it. After all, it was a 1957 Oldsmobile made of steel. In other words, it was a tank.
My brother woke my father up with the words, “Dad, I need you.”
Why I remember this incident after more than 54 years, I have no idea. But the words, “Dad, I need you” were imprinted indelibly on my mind.
I’ve been thinking about fathers and the roles they play in our lives. And about God as our heavenly father.
Your perception of God as your father is influenced by your own relationship with your earthly father. That’s why people who experienced abusive fathers or have had a bad relationship with their earthly fathers have a difficult time comprehending God as their father.
God set the bar for fathers. Let’s look into His Word to see what He has to say about His role as our father.
First of all, Jesus called Him “Abba Father” – a term designating a close, intimate relationship. It translates “Daddy” and gives us a glimpse into the Father-Son relationship of the first two Persons of the Trinity.
But did you know that believers can also call God “Abba Father?” The Holy Spirit dwelling in us seals our adoption as sons and daughters of God. (see above two verses)
OK, enough preaching. Let’s look at what a father does.
First of all, a father provides. Food, clothing, shelter, guidance, wisdom. God provided for the children of Israel as they trekked through the wilderness: water from rocks, manna from heaven, and when they wanted meat, quail. He guided them with the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. When it stopped, they stopped. When it moved, they moved.
God continues to provide for His children today. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
How has God provided for a specific need of yours?
Second, a father helps. Like my father did when my brother woke him up in the middle of the night, God will answer when we call to Him. In fact, He invites us: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).
How has God helped you in your day of trouble?
Third, a father disciplines. Discipline is not always punishment, although punishment may be part of discipline. Its purpose is to train us to live right, to strengthen us, to make us into the persons God wants us to be. “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not loathe His reproof; for the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:11–12).
How has God’s discipline made you a better person?
When I read Zephaniah 3:17, I see God as a father standing over the crib of His child, watching him sleep; holding him close and soothing him, softly crooning a lullaby.
You, child of God, are that child.
No matter how faithful or unfaithful our earthly fathers are, God, thank You for being the kind of father each of us needs. Amen.
Read and meditate on Zephaniah 3:17:
“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.