The Worlds Greatest Dad
He said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.' Mark 14:36 WEB
After growing up in the Bible Belt, my image of God was as a complete disciplinarian, an angry, white-haired, lightning bolt wielding being who stalked me. He was rightly called 'The Lion of Judah.' He was always watching, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting soul that broke one of those precious commandments. There were a lot of those in the Bible, and no one here seemed to know for sure which ones that we should keep, so each family kind of pick and chose what fit.
I mean animal sacrifice was out, but we happily ate pigs and catfish. Looking back, I am pretty sure that 'love your neighbor' wasn't on our list. God didn't seem to notice all of the bad things that were happening either, but if you were to go dancing, or spend a night on the town with friends, you would surely go to hell.
It was rare for me to go to church at all when I was little, and never as a family. I remember visiting the local church with a friend one night and they showed a movie called 'The Burning Hell' which showed people like me, on fire and screaming. God seemed sadistic, and He sure had put an awful lot of work into developing methods that brought maximum torture from sinners. Horrific pictures of Jesus, nailed to a cross, wearing a crown of thorns and bleeding, only enforced the idea.
In stark contrast, my biological dad was the greatest. In fact, that is what we engraved on his tombstone: 'The World's Greatest Dad.' My mom left when I was one and dad struggled to raise three boys on his own and work full time. He made huge sacrifices to keep us together when social services tried to adopt us out, but that is too long to share here. Suffice it to say that he would have given his life for his children.
In Aramaic 'Abba' is the English word that we use for 'Daddy.' Jesus called God the Father, 'Daddy.' This is an intimate, personal connection. Jesus could have used a dozen other names, but the night that He needed His Father the most, He chose this one. So I had a great dad, but from my distorted viewpoint, it seemed like Jesus had an awful one. My dad was loving and forgiving, where His lived for the day of the great white throne judgment.
Somehow, the church had managed to reverse the roles of God and satan. As I grew older and began to build a relationship with God, instead of just hearing what others said about Him, I learned that He was even better to me than my own dad. As I began to intentionally invite Him to be a part of my life, we grew closer and He began to move in my life. He is the world's greatest Dad and full of surprises. When I do mess up, He helps me get back up instead of destroying me in a fiery explosion of 'righteous anger.'
God is tender hearted and He has feelings. He is loving, caring, forgiving, merciful, faithful, patient, kind, peaceful. He really does love you, and He has the best plan for your life. He will remove your past and wash you as white as snow. He will leave the ninety-nine sheep to seek the one that wandered off. Invite Jesus to be a part of your life. Read the gospels and learn about what He was like. It turns out that He has more in store for us here than punishment. There is still hope and a future for you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please reveal Yourself to me in a special way like only You can. Draw me into a deeper relationship with You and speak to me in a way that I understand. Help me to see the real You, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
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