Growing up, my dad was someone who, no matter how impossible a task might seem, could figure out a way to accomplish it. He would never become discouraged and would always be very positive when working it through. If something was broken or wasn't working, I knew my dad could fix it.
He was really a man ahead of his time. In one such instance, he fashioned all of these "niceties" for our family's pop-up camper that made our camping trips comfortable - which now actually come standard in today's pop-up campers! I saw my dad as a protector that would keep us safe and comfortable.
My brother and I still laugh about a time camping with our family when we were kids. My dad had built a roaring campfire. A sudden thunderstorm came up with gusty winds, fanning the flames toward the camper. My dad looked at my brother and I and said, "what should we do now?" I was thinking huh?? , "What should we do?! Your the dad!" lol. My dad was just teasing us as he knew exactly what to do.
When I was first married, my husband and I moved four hours away from our family to a new home, new job and new responsibilities. I can remember those first nights sleeping in our home that even though I was with my husband, I felt uneasy and missed my dad's "protection". It's not that I lived in a dangerous area growing up or as a young married wife by any stretch, but the safeness I found with my dad was ingrained in me.
On a funny note, one such experience in our early married months happened when my husband and I woke up to these horrific, other-worldly sounds coming from inside our fireplace chimney. My husband was quite startled too! lol. I called my dad and immediately he knew the sounds I was describing were an opossum and a raccoon fighting in the chimney. He then told us how to safely remedy the problem.
I must say that once I adjusted to married life and living far from my family, I certainly saw my husband as my protector and problem solver.
But even now, there can still be times that I will call my dad to ask for his advice on how to accomplish a task...
As believers, Abba Father is our ultimate refuge, hiding place and fortress.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10
I learned this week that "Abba" means father, but with an emphasis on the affection of a small child to his daddy. The words Abba Father are used only three times in the Bible and is associated with crying out to God.
I am struck with the similarity of my childhood relationship with my earthly father, and the way God designed our relationship to be with Him.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
If moment by moment I would remember that my Heavenly Father chose me before the foundation of the world to be His adopted child, His treasured possession, there would be no more fear. I would simply live Loved with childlike faith. Living Loved yields a life of obedience.
I hope the following analogies will be of encouragement - illustrations to remember when doubts creep in concerning our worthiness before God or in those moments when we are afraid.
- When speaking to a group of young mothers, I shared my own experience as a young mom of those exasperating days when my children were misbehaving. But yet, after they were fast asleep, I would check on them and seeing their sweet faces, peacefully sleeping, all the disobedience of the day was forgotten, and I would be overcome with love.
If we who are sinful can love our children this way, how much more does our Heavenly Father who is perfect love us!
When we have "misbehaved" and fallen into our old sinful ways, God still loves us. It is that Love that says, you are forgiven, "as far as the East is from the West, so far does He remove our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12, and then quietly, that "still small voice" will "speak" and "your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, 'this is the way; walk in it'." Isaiah 30:21
(The next excerpt I once heard in a sermon illustration.)
- There was a train that had lost control and was barreling down the tracks. A little girl was sitting in one of the train seats, happily singing, seeming to not have a care in the world. A fellow passenger who was frightened by the perilous situation asked the little girl, "Why aren't you afraid?" The little girl replied, "I'm not afraid, my daddy is the train conductor. He always keeps me safe."
Oh, to have childlike faith like that! In trials to "sing" and trust that Abba Father will keep me safe in the "shadow of His wings".
Abba, Father! We approach thee
In our Savior's precious name;
We thy children, here assembled,
Now thy promised blessing claim;
From our sins His blood has washed us
'Tis through Him our souls draw nigh,
And thy Spirit too has taught us,
Abba, Father! thus to cry.
Once as prodigals we wandered
in our folly far from thee
But Thy Grace, o'er sin abounding,
Rescued us from misery;
Though thy prodigals hast pardoned,
Kissed us with a Father's love,
Spread the festive board, and called us,
E're to dwell with thee above.
Abba, Father! We approach Thee, James G. Deck
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