Without a doubt, no matter your religious upbringing, you’ve heard God be referred to as our Father at some point or another.
He’s both our Father in heaven, and the Father within the Trinity, working in harmony with Spirit and Son.
But, my question as of late has been how does our perceptions of our earthly fathers skew our view of God as our Father?
Our broken world
Since the fall of man, we live in a Godless world. Not to say that His presence can’t dwell here, or that He’s unreachable, but rather that on this earth, there is a level of separation which will only end when we are reunited with Him in heaven someday.
Because of this fact, you could also say we live in a fatherless world. Both figuratively, but sadly literally for many families.
There’s over a million single-parent families within Australia alone, never mind the world, and the numbers seem to be climbing as the years pass. Many in my age range and younger are referred to as, “The Fatherless Generation” as their absence is greatly affecting our society.
Plenty of us have lived with the pain of our fathers falling us short, fading out of our lives, or never even knowing them in the first place.
With facts like that staring at us in the face, how are any of us capable of grasping the concept of God as a loving father if we’ve never experienced such a thing on earth?
Have you ever noticed when reading scripture, especially the New Testament, the term, “Abba Father,” and wondered what exactly it meant or translated to?
To put it simply, Abba in Aramaic translates to Daddy. Something children typically call their fathers that has an element of tenderness and innocence is also something we can speak and refer to God with.
When I’m in a church and I see people raising their hands above their heads in a state of surrender and awe during worship, I can’t help but think of another picture it mirrors.
The image of babies and toddlers raising their hands up when they want to be held, often still too young to communicate with words, but yet still able to make a request to their fathers.
What a beautiful metaphor the Lord has painted for us to better understand how He loves us, and how we are able to trust Him.
I can’t help but be reminded of the passage in Romans chapter 8, verse 15 that says, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’”
The fatherless have been adopted by the Heavenly Father, in whom we can have a childlike faith in, and cry out to as our Daddy. It’s a privilege and a gift we hold as born-again Christians to be adopted by the Father, and it’s one we often forget we even have.
Healing the hurt
As beautiful as this gift is, it may not automatically diminish the pain and realities that come with a fatherless home, or an earthly father who fails us time and time again.
However, this does offer a promise and a sense of hope. We have the promise that our Abba Father will heal those wounds, slowly but surely.
Even if you have a wonderful earthly father like I do, there are still roles that only my Father in Heaven can fulfil. No matter how great any of your relationships with anyone on earth is, none of them can replace or come above your relationship with the Lord.
I encourage anyone and everyone, no matter what wounds have been afflicted on you here on earth by fathers or father figures, to remember your Abba Father.
Only He who who sits on the throne can dry every tear and heal each hurt.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. – Psalm 68:5