Setting the Bar

why father doesn't see kids

“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?

And finally, a father loves. Sacrificially (John 3:16), unconditionally (Romans 5:8), steadfastly (Psalm 36:5), and eternally (Psalm 136:1).

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.

The Apple of His Eye

He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on the day of a festival.   – Zephaniah 3:17

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            Keep me as the apple of your eye. – Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

My Dearest Child,

You are the apple of My eye. Sometimes, I know, you feel as though I’ve abandoned you. I have not. I’m here. I’ve always been here, and I’ll always be here for you. I’ll never abandon you, no matter what happens, no matter how you feel or behave. No strings attached. I love you simply because you are Mine.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “the apple of my eye” many times, but do you know what it means?  The “apple” of the eye is the pupil, the center of the eye and the part that allows light in. Without this delicate part, you wouldn’t be able to see. So the pupil—the apple—must be protected at all costs.

I am your protector, the shield around you, the strong tower into which you may run for refuge, your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, your stronghold in times of trouble. Yet there have been times you haven’t run to Me. You’ve sought help elsewhere. I never force you. I always give you the choice. Sometimes your choices break My heart. But I want you to love Me and choose to obey Me on your own. Like the pupil, I want you to open up your heart and allow My light and love in.

There are times when I must intervene for your own good. What parent would allow a child to step out into a busy street and not run and snatch that precious one from harm’s way?

When you’re weary and bearing a heavy load, I lead you to a place of rest where your soul can be refreshed. If I didn’t, you’d run yourself to death. What are you trying to prove, dear one? You don’t have to earn My love or prove your worth to Me. I created you. Just as you are. For a purpose. Everything I allow in your life has a purpose, child. Work with the circumstances, not against them. I am in control, whether you believe it or not.

Sometimes I allow hardships in your life to teach you, to strengthen you. Do you remember learning to ride a bike? How many scrapes and bruises did you endure before you were able to ride without Me running right behind you, ready to catch you if you fell?

Yet there came a time when I had to stand back and let you do it on your own. I watched you fall, brush yourself off, and hop back on again. I was so proud of you. I watched you cry when the pain was more than you could bear, when you were so frustrated because after all your efforts, it still wasn’t working out the way you’d planned. I hurt because you hurt. I counted your tears and bottled them as a reminder of your growth pains. But I was always there.

As you grew, the lessons became harder. Such is life, My child. Sometimes I allowed you to wander in a wilderness, to struggle in a storm. It pained me to hear your cries, “Where are You? Why don’t You help me?” I was helping you. I never abandoned you. Your faith had to grow stronger, and the wilderness and storms make perfect faith-growing greenhouses.

You, Apple of My Eye, are precious to Me, and I love you so much, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give for you. Indeed, I gave My Son.

You are the apple of My eye. Don’t ever forget it.

Love,

Abba

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