Before he saved me, I thought of God as vast, distant, and too busy running the universe to care about my peewee little needs.
I also saw him as perpetually displeased with me and ready to send me to hell at any time. When I needed his help big time I’d make deals with him – God, if you feel if you get me out of this jam I’ll quit smoking. If you just help me this one time I’ll quit drinking forever. Of course I never kept my end of the deal for very long. Which made me feel even more condemned.
And when I did pray I never used the name “Father”. I would always address him as “God”.
I heard one man say he thought of God was as an angry old man with a beard holding a lightning bolt, waiting to see someone starting to have fun, then hurling the lightning bolt and screaming “Now cut that out!”
Once in a prayer meeting, I sat next to a young man who addressed God in such an intimate way it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I’d never heard anyone talk to God like that. I didn’t know that kind of intimacy was possible.
What a wonderful thing to discover as I went on in my faith, that God had adopted me as his son and become my Father.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:6-7
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
Sometimes bad experiences with earthly fathers color the way we view our heavenly Father. We must not let our past shape our view of our heavenly Father but form our picture of him from what he tells us in his Word. Be encouraged today by these truths:
Your heavenly Father cares for you deeply.
Your heavenly Father will provide for you and protect you.
Your heavenly Father hears you and is moved by your suffering.
Your heavenly Father loves to bless you.
Your heavenly Father desires an intimate relationship with you.
Jerry Bridges, in his book Who Am I? says, “No other religion in the history of the world has ever had a god (or gods) who could be addressed in such intimate terms as Abba. Even the Jews of the Old Testament who worshiped the one true God did not address him as Father. And though there were notable exceptions such as Abraham, Moses, David, and Daniel, the vast majority of Jews did not enjoy an intimate relationship with God.”
“Abba was an Aramaic word, a term of family intimacy, used primarily by Jewish children when addressing their fathers. It implied a sense of child-like dependency but also of expectation that Abba would meet their needs. It was likewise the term Jesus used as he prayed to his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.”
If you have trusted in Christ to save you, your heavenly Father loves you in his Son. We can’t possibly fathom the depths of that love. Knowing the deep love of our Father fills us with confidence and joy. If you don’t have this ask him for it. He’s waiting with open arms for you to come to him.