If you read this page frequently you’ll know how incredibly powerful it has been for me to grow to embrace the Almighty God of the universe as my Abba Father. These words continue to work their way into my heart with ever-greater reality:
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15).
Of all the discoveries in my life over the past 15 years, none has meant more and none has been more powerful in reshaping my life. I am blessed to find God as a tender Father through the twist and turns of my journey in this age. Instead of being frustrated at him when he doesn’t give me what I want or trying to find the right prayer or bargain for God to give me what I think is best, I am finding the joy of simply learning to trust him as a tender Father.
I resonate with John’s words:
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” I John 4:13
I can imagine John in his twilight years reflecting on his entire spiritual journey in that simple phrase. I hope when I am older I am able to say with the same sense of resolve. As for now, I am simply learning this reality each day. There are some places in my life where I live truly loved, and their are other spaces in my heart that struggle to believe it’s true. At the end of my days, I’d want to say them with such finality as he did here. To trust God as my Abba, puts him in every situation with me and even in the difficult ones he doesn’t fix the way I want, I know he is never against me. Even when in sternness he disciplines me to live more freely in him, or asks of me more than I think I have to give, it is my Abba behind it all and that makes it easier to submit to his ways.
A big part of God’s instruction to me in this arena has been in my emotions and love for my own children, and now for my growing brood of grandchildren. i can’t believe how much I loved them, right from birth. I love the relationship I have with each of them and how much they enjoy being with their grandpa. I know the tenderness I want them to feel in me, and the fierceness that would protect them at all costs. A year or so ago, my daughter took the above picture of me when I was so deep in a conversation with Aimee that I wasn’t even aware that her mom was taking pictures. When I saw it the first time, my heart leapt. It has become the picture that illustrates “Abba” for me–a child quietly at rest in the arms of someone she completely trusts.
Last week as Sara and I were returning home from a vacation in the nearby Sierras, we stopped to have lunch with some long-time friends. As we walked into their dining room she directed my attention to the wall on which hung her watercolor adaptation of that picture. It took my breath way. They said it was a gift and we returned home to hang it on our wall.
Here it is:
Every time I look at not only do I get to celebrate that special bond that Aimee and I share, but even more special is the reminder that the God who made heaven and earth delights in being my Abba. There is no safer place to be, even at my worst, than on his lap, wrapped in his incredible love. There every difficult thing in my life fades in the absolute wonder of who he is and the relationship he wants to keep carving out with me.
And that is as true for every one of you reading these words.