My Father’s Lap

Picture

 

In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. – Psalm 57:1 (RSV)

When I was growing up, there was only one place where I could escape my mother’s wrath—my father’s lap. I was an impulsive child, and my mother wasn’t blessed with patience, so when our wills clashed, sparks flew.

Mom was the firestorm; Dad the quiet stream. I loved them both, but it was to Dad I turned when I needed a listening ear or when I just needed cuddled. Curled up in his lap, resting my head on his shoulder, feeling his arms around me, was the safest place in the world.

Fast forward forty years. I am now a mother, still a bit impulsive, fiery when I get going. My husband is like my father—a soothing balm to my blistering heat. One of my children has impulsively done something that could cast a dark shadow over the future. I am so furious, I shake. I feel heat radiating from my face.

“How could you do this?” I shout. “When we get home, you will tell your father what you’ve done.”

But the scene doesn’t turn out as I expect. There, curled up in my husband’s lap, is our errant, remorseful child.

Fast forward eight more years. I am now a grandmother. As my family has multiplied, so have my love and concern. I pray for my children and grandchildren every day, but still I worry. I am at the age where I realize how fragile life really is and how dangerous a place the world is. I have much more to lose now.

As I sit in the family room, my head rests on the wing of the love seat where I’m curled up. Eyes closed, I imagine myself sitting in my heavenly Father’s lap, resting my head on His shoulder, feeling His arms around me.

I speak no words, but peace, like a placid stream, gently seeps into my soul. I am in the safest place in the world.

Abba, Father, thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 57

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, Copyright © 2018 by Michele Huey

 

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.