Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Different Daddy

The antiseptic smell of the intensive care unit assaulted my nose as I sat next to my father’s bed. Machines whirred and beeped with each labored breath he took. One collapsed lung and the other full of pneumonia predicted the outcome for him.

“So this is how it ends,” I pondered. For years, a love-hate relationship with this man influenced many of my decisions. Some good, some bad. I always sought his approval, but rarely did he grant it.

Until two years ago, when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. At the age of 79, my earthly father discovered the Father God’s unconditional love. I struggled to believe my father could transform from a mean bitter man to one full of love for others. I traveled five hundred miles just to look into those crinkled hazel eyes to see a new dad peering out at me. Our relationship changed drastically. Finally, my father became the dad I desired.

Now he lay dying. Two years was not long enough! Yet strangely, I felt a deep peace. I knew he was going home to his Father in heaven. I leaned over to kiss his damp forehead and using a name I had not called him forty-five years, I whispered, “I love you, Daddy. I’ll see you soon.

We use many terms to refer to our fathers. Father, poppa, pop, dad and daddy all recall certain images in our minds. Our hearts were designed for a father type of relationship. Perhaps your experience with your father was like mine, not the best. Or maybe you had a wonderful daddy, if so count your blessings. Whatever the relationships between you and your father, remember he is human. No one is perfect. We all have faults.

Many of us remember the old television show of “Father Knows Best.” We smile fondly as we recall the perfect family with the father sowing his wisdom in all sorts of different scenarios. What a family! Dad wore suits, mom wore dresses, and the children behaved with admirable manners.

However, in today’s culture we watch bumbling television families. The Simpsons or the Osbournes appear nightly across the television screens of our homes. With such examples of fathers traipsing before us, how do we perceive our Heavenly Father?

The God of the universe is our Heavenly Father. He loves us as his daughters and longs for us to love and trust him as our “Daddy.” Scripture tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17 NIV).” God is the ultimate father who bestows good and perfect gifts to his children. He does not change; he is worthy of our trust.

For me, eventually learning to trust my earthly father allowed me to call him, “Daddy.” In the same way, when we trust our Heavenly Father, he becomes a perfect daddy to us. In our key verse today, “Abba” translates as daddy. God desires to be our Father God, the perfect Father, our Daddy, and our Abba.

Will you trust him today as your “Abba Father?”

My prayer for today: Dear Father God, help me to know in my heart that you love me with a perfect fatherly love. Begin to teach me how to relate to you as my “Abba, Daddy.”


Because you are God's children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, "Abba! Father!"

Thank you for all your comments concerning how we feel about our fathers. It is a subject that has lots of emotion. The winner of Embraced by the Father is Tania. Congratulations, Tania!

5 comments:

wondering04 said...

I am so grateful that you were able to have those few years with your father as the kind of father you wanted. I praise God for that.

Lynn Cowell said...

Susanne,
Thanks so much for your devo today. I was frustrated with my wanderer on Monday morning and pulled out your desperate prayers book. It always grounds me and helps me to not feel alone.
Thank you SO much for being obedient to write it!

suzi.wollman said...

Oh, Sweet Susie! Your devotion this morning (Encouragement for Today) was just the thing I needed. I'm sure a bazillion other people also can say the same. Who does not know the sorrow of watching a once-faithful friend or family member stray and then get lost in the world's forest? Mine are two of my five children: the oldest and the youngest. All of my children once walked with God and were baptized according to their faith. I so want to pull them into life with Christ again, but God has shown me that I can get in His way... to be quiet and pray.

Thank you.

Suzi

Tonya Ingram said...

I have yet to understand the concept of God being a "daddy" as well, although I have to say that my concept is changing, but would love more insight and encouragement with this.

by SuAnn said...

Susanne,
Thanks so much for the article about your relationship with your dad. I had major hangups about my dad as well until, like you, I discovered the unconditional love of my Abba Father. I also witnessed a an earthly Agnostic daddy come to know Christ's love and live for Him twenty plus years!
God is Good!