“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15
It was late one night when I heard footsteps approaching my bedroom. I was half asleep and fully expected a little boy to crawl up into our bed and snuggle up, however, he simply used our bathroom and went back upstairs to his bed. It wasn’t too much longer when I heard the water running from the upstairs bathroom so I crawled out of bed and went to see if there was a problem. It turns out that my eleven year old son just couldn’t fall asleep. I’ve been there before, both as a child and even more frequently in recent years. I tried curling up next to him and asked a few questions to see if there was anything heavy on his heart. The heaviest thing was that he just couldn’t fall asleep.
We tried a warm glass of milk and I even agreed to let him take a warm bath in the middle of the night. I waited on the living room sofa for him to finish his bath before returning to his bed to tuck him in again and pray him off to sleep. I could tell that he was still too keyed up to fall asleep and anxious to get back to sleep myself I remembered about saying the ABC’s of praise.
It had been quite a while since we had done this, a tactic I have even used myself as a way of curling up into the lap of my heavenly Father as I drift off to sleep. That night however, as I began to praise God through the alphabet, I became terribly anxious as I couldn’t think of one adjective that described God with the letter A, nor B and so on. I was beginning to doubt my faith and definitely felt like a failure as a good Christian girl. Somehow, I managed to get to the letter D. I was feeling a huge weight of guilt over struggling to praise God. Was I out of touch with the Lord? Had our relationship grown cold? Had I wandered too far away?
That’s when the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, “Daddy”. Yes! I praised God because He is my Daddy, Abba Father, Papa God. But it wasn’t the word that God was trying to share with me. It was His fatherly love for me that engulfed me in holy warmth. All of a sudden I felt His arms surround me with total acceptance, the way a father embraces his daughter. God wasn’t judging me for my inability to find words from every letter of the alphabet to praise Him. He was inviting me up into His lap to curl up and go to sleep. To find complete rest in Him.
Jesus tells us more about our Abba Father and his love for His children in the parable of the prodigal son. The son had squandered his inheritance and had nothing left to offer or return to his father. But the father had unconditional, unending love for his son and had been waiting, patiently for his return. It was the father who ran to meet his son, even before he got to the driveway. That’s our Abba Father’s love for us. When our head is low and we have nothing to offer (Do we ever really have anything to offer?), He runs to us and embraces us with His amazing and compassionate love, inviting us to curl up in His lap as He holds us in His everlasting arms.
I didn’t get very far on my ABC’s of praise that night, but I didn’t need to. The letter D was far enough. I don’t know how far my son got either, but he didn’t get up again until his alarm went off the next morning.
May today be a new kind of Father’s Day for you, the kind where you cry out Abba Father and run into His everlasting arms that love, comfort and hold you.
His servant and yours,