Slightly Obsessed #099 "A Daddy's Love" by Pamela Thorson on 2015-02-11 08:55:48
“You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” —Romans 8:15
“Abba! An informal Aramaic term for Father that conveys a sense of intimacy. Like the English words for ‘Daddy’ or ‘Papa,’ it connotes tenderness, dependence, and a relationship free of fear or anxiety.” — John MacArthur
The child in the old black-and-white print can’t be more than several months old. Wisps of blonde hair frame a cherubic face. Her wide, toothless grin lights up the room. She is perched on someone’s lap, her fat little hands clutched around the tanned, large fingers steadying her. Her eyes, focused adoringly on the face beyond the camera, say it all:
For more than sixty years, those same hands never let her go. They steadied her as she took her first steps, propelled her down the country lane on her first bike, and released her to her groom. Her daddy stayed up evenings helping her with her homework, and he stayed up nights watching until she made it home safely.
He took on any errant teacher, bus driver, or bully that dared to hurt his little girl.
He cried the day he walked her down the aisle. He proudly pronounced each new grandchild the perfect addition. Over the decades he abundantly lavished his prayers, finances, and time on his beloved family.
He cheered every victory and grieved over every heartache as if it were his own. Besides my husband, he has been my refuge, one who makes me feel safe and cherished. I still run to him when I’ve fallen down and skinned my soul.
The cherub is now old and gray. But my earthly daddy is still here, teaching me the meaning of true fatherhood.
Glenn T. Stanton of Focus on the Family recently challenged the association of the term Abba with “Daddy.”* But his objection appears to be with the nuances attached to the word “Daddy,” rather than its description of a loving relationship with our heavenly Father.
When a child sees her father, she doesn’t agonize over the subtleties of his name. She recognizes the face of someone who loves her. She rejoices in who he is. In arguing the linguistic origins of the word Abba, we may strain out the gnat only to swallow the camel. In our haste to ensure we haven’t muddied the name of the Father, we may relegate a beautiful English word picture to a shallow grave out of fear of being irreverent.
Our Father in heaven loves us. He loves who we are, just as we are. Every pure action we attribute to our earthly fathers has its origin in Him. Whether we call Him “Father” or “Daddy,” we owe Him our complete respect and absolute adoration.
I don’t call my dad “Daddy” anymore. But when I’m with him, I still see the same unconditional love that captured my heart as a child. In the same way, my love for God has grown and matured through the years. But He’s still Abba, Father.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, released in 2014. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
The pain takes us down and drives us to our knees. We long for relief, for a way out. But in the secret place of suffering, we discover that pain is our friend.
Slightly Obsessed #228: The God of the Grateful
My world had just fallen into a pit. We had a young daughter, four other children, and no insurance. I was so sick that I didn’t even know if I could get to the doctor for tests. Despair rolled over us in waves.
Then God spoke.
Slightly Obsessed #227: Release the Beautiful
As we smiled at the people we met on our walk I wondered at the social custom that requires face-to-face congeniality on a bike path among strangers who would soon be in our respective cars fighting over a lane change. It’s easier to be mad at people when we can’t see their faces.
Slightly Obsessed #226: Triune
In its most basic element, our very existence mirrors His Godhead in trinity. Each person enters time and space as three: body, soul, and spirit.
Slightly Obsessed #225: Why Lightning Doesn't Strike the Wicked
The popular radio host was on a rampage, vehemently damning God. He crowned the diatribe by flinging a challenge at God to strike him down at that very moment. He smugly interpreted heaven's silence as proof that there is no God. But what was really happening?
Slightly Obsessed #224: When the Pressure Feels Too Great
The fig I found in a local big box store had already been trimmed into a lovely miniature tree with an unusual trunk. Little did I understand what it takes to train a plant into a bonsai, and what that process would teach me about God.