I am so, so blessed to have an amazing dad. I mean, simply amazing. He’s a man of integrity who loved my mother and loves me and my brother with everything he is.
But many people I know didn’t have the same experience with their earthly fathers. Their fathers didn’t stick around, or they were uncommitted, or abusive, or every other negative thing they could be.
So I can totally see how it would be difficult for some people to see God as “Father” and even more difficult to see Him as “Daddy,” which is what “Abba” means.
And yet, that’s what He is.
In her book Praying the Names of God, Ann Spangler says, “Rather than depicting God as a typical Middle Eastern patriarch who wielded considerable power within the family, [Jesus] depicted Him primarily as a tender and compassionate father, who extends grace to both the sinner and the self-righteous.”
I started thinking about all the ways that God exhibits the same characteristics I have seen in my own daddy (and of course, remembering that God is the model, and that ultimately, even our earthly fathers will sometimes fail us). Here’s the list I came up with.
|Me and my awesome daddy|
Good daddies guide us.
My own dad has given me wise counsel regarding any number of issues, from guys to college to growing in the Lord.
God gives us counsel in the Bible and provides other people to speak truth into our lives.
Good daddies give us comfort.
Oh, the countless times my daddy took me in his arms and held me when I cried…
And oh, the countless times I have cried out to God when my heart felt like it might burst, and He gave me a peace that surpassed all understanding.
Good daddies discipline us with love.
Telling us “no” can’t be easy, but loving daddies do it when something could harm us—and when we kick and scream and pout, they hold their ground because they love us that much.
God also tells us “no” sometimes, but it’s always for our greater good. It’s always to grow something in us, or to protect us from what is not His absolute best for us.
Good daddies carry us when we’re too weak to walk any more on our own.
I can remember a lot of times as a child when my dad hoisted me onto his back and let me ride when I was tired.
In the same way, when we can’t take another step emotionally, and even before we reach that point, God says, “Leave it at the foot of the cross. I will take it for you. I’ll even carry you if I need to.”
Good daddies protect us.
My own dad protected me from bullies, unrealistic expectations, and the world as much as he could.
And with God, there’s nothing like being held in the everlasting arms, safe and secure.
Good daddies provide for us.
My dad took care of our family. He sacrificed for us.
Abba takes care of us. He gives us exactly what we need, when we need it. He provided a sacrifice so that we could live.
Regardless of whether you were one who has/had a “good daddy” here on earth, know that God loves you and wants a relationship with you. He wants to guide you, comfort you, carry you, protect you, and provide for you.
More than anything, He wants to be your Daddy.
Your Turn: How has God been Abba in your life? What other parallels do you see between a good earthly daddy and the Lord?