Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Does Daddy Mean to You?

Gal. 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Vine's Expository Dictionary defines "Abba" as: an Aramaic word, found in Mar 14:36; Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6. In the Gemara (a Rabbinical commentary on the Mishna, the traditional teaching of the Jews) it is stated that slaves were forbidden to address the head of the family by this title. It approximates to a personal name, in contrast to "Father," with which it is always joined in the NT. This is probably due to the fact that, abba having practically become a proper name, Greek-speaking Jews added the Greek word pater, "father," from the language they used. "Abba" is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning trust; "father" expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.

Many times in the past, I have heard that the word Abba was akin to saying "Daddy".

My daughter and I were driving down the road the other day having a conversation about fathers. I asked her what the word "Daddy" meant to her. She didn't appear to have a real clear answer for this question because she has never had a close relationship with her father. So, on Sunday morning as I sat quietly reading The Word and praying, I began to think about my own father. I had always told people that I had been close to my father, but I realized in those moments that I had never really had a "daddy" either. My father was a fisherman and a hunter and he liked to sit in The Madison Inn tossing back a few with his friends and compadres. I can remember driving there with my mom and sisters more than a few times to find him (that was back when NO ONE had a cell phone and many didn't even have home phones). He worked all day, drank after work, hunted many nights and fished on the weekends. He just plain wasn't there until he got injured at work when he was struck on the head; this later progressed into parkinson's disease which stopped him from doing all the things he had so loved. I grieved about that (the fact that I felt the need to make our relationship look better than it actually was) for a while.

Then, the Spirit brought to my mind the above verse in Galatians. Abba is used three times in the New Testament, one time of which was when Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying prior to his arrest and crucifixion. I believe this word portrays a very close relationship; one in which the son who is crying out knows that his father loves him unconditionally, wholeheartedly and everlastingly; and one in which the son knows that his father is 100% just, wise, and in control; that there is no evil in his father and that the father is 100% trustworthy.

I asked the Lord to help me understand who He is as my "daddy", and He showed me His great, unconditional love for me, and how if I fall down and hurt myself or hurt someone else, all I have to do is run to Him. He has the answer. He knows how to heal my wounds (whether they be physical or emotional or spiritual) and everyone else's too. I saw myself wrapped in His embrace -- big arms, warmth emmanating from Him; he was patting my back and rubbing His cheek against mine. He was murmuring softly "everyting will be fine, my beloved", "I'll take care of it", "Trust me".

I saw my self walking down the street with Him; He had his arm around my shoulders, and we were casually talking about birds, trees, life, death, friends, family; anything that was on my heart. I could tell He cared. He listened with his whole being. He looked at me with eyes wide open and directed onto my face. His love and concern could not be missed.

I could tell that daddy was kind and good, that he was patient, that he was even handed; that He took joy in sharing my life and that he would never just "do" or "say" something just to do it or say it, but that He had lots of self-control and would only say or do something after thinking and praying about it. He was the embodiment of trust, love, protectiveness, wise counsellor, trusted friend, and loving parent. I could feel His love pouring over me, and I cried out of the pure joy of knowing I could be loved in this way. It was something I had never experienced before, and I am a better woman for having done so. To know how precious you are in God's eyes and how much He loves you is worth all you have to give, sell or lend. It's so .... comforting, restoring, uplifting, and encouraging! It gives rich meaning to your life.

It made me realize that there is nothing on earth or in the sky or under the earth that is as valuable or vital to my life than the love of God, my daddy.

I also realized that as we grow and mature in Him; specifically, as He reveals Himself to us and let's us really know Him, our love matures to one in which we call him "Dad". It's a familiar name that embodies all that the word "daddy" implies plus the fact of familiarity. This is no short term love; it has depth, breadth and trust to define it.

And as our walk through life has extended over the years, our relationship has deepened even more. He is my Father, the one I trust to advise me, protect me, lead me, deliver me and love me.

That's the kind of Daddy I want, and no, my human father was incapable of giving me these things, but my heavenly father is well able and willing to do so. I only need to call out "Abba, Father" to him and He is faithful to hear my call and draw close to me.

I pray that you might also know your Daddy who loves you in this manner today. Won't you call out to Him now? He's waiting to hearing from you.

God bless you today.

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