April 30, 2012

Names of God: Abba

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?


  1. I'm so glad God is Father, because dads can expect baby-girl tantrums and still love them! Love is unconditional. I need that for sure! I'm prone to tantrums!

    A fabulous post, Linds. Love ya'lls picture. :)

    1. Ha, baby-girl tantrums. I have thrown a few of those in my time as well! And thanks! That pic was taken at my cousin's wedding back in December. :)

  2. Aw, sweet picture of you & your dad, and a lovely post too. Your point about people with fathers who were hurtful or absent as not being able to understand what a heavenly Father's love is so true.

    One thing that stands out about my dad is his humility. For all the authoritative, hard-nosed discipline he doled out, at the end of the day I would often see him on his knees, praying by his bedside. Something about his submission to God spoke to me and comforted me as a little girl. It helped me rest in knowing he had Someone taking care of him, too.

    1. My dad is so humble too. Knowing where he draws his strength from gives me a great example to follow!

  3. Love this! So glad you were blessed...and are blessed...with a wonderful daddy!

    I am so thankful that our son is being raised by a great dad too. I admire my husband. He is such a gerat father.

    The Lord was my daddy when my earthly father left our home when I was 15. I am glad that our relationship is somewhat restored now, but I can look back and see how the Lord took over and guided me, protected me, disciplined me, and loved me through the years when my earthly father wasn't there.

    God is such a loving Father.

    1. I'm so glad that God revealed Himself as your Daddy when you were young, Ruth. So many don't find Him until they're older, when their view of Fathers is already jaded.

      And so glad that Nathan has such a good role model in Scott!

  4. I was blessed with a good daddy, too. It's been easy for me to see the love and care my Heavenly Father has for me because I saw it in my Earthly dad. He's quit to praise me and he's quick to lend a helping hand when I need it. I know I can rely on him at all times.

    1. My daddy does those things too, Gabrielle. We were both so blessed. Sometimes I definitely take it for granted.

  5. I love watching the relationship between Gwynly and our daughter. They've been close since day one. He got to see her first, since I was undergoing an emergency C-section, and they bonded instantly. She's in college now, but they're as close as ever. I love how she still calls him Daddy. When I see them together, I'm reminded of how the Lord wants that kind of relationship with each of us. Close. Personal. Precious.

    1. "When I see them together, I'm reminded of how the Lord wants that kind of relationship with each of us. Close. Personal. Precious."

      I love that thought, Keli.

  6. Kristin ElizabethApril 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    He is a great guy and I should know, I'm married to him. I'm a pretty lucky gal. God is good.