“When My Father and Mother Forsake Me, Then The Lord Will Take Me Up” — Psalm 27:10
Well, they did and He did. God kept His promise.
The primary way that I have known God through out my life has been experiential. I have experienced a very intimate, private, personal relationship with God.
I first became aware of God as a toddler in a crib; I was potentially about three years old at the time, but I didn’t know that this presence had a name; “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” “IAM,” or the infamous “Yahweh,” I was not familiar with. I didn’t know what or who God was, nor did I know that this being I sensed in the terror and confusion my life had become, was anything more than just being present…. if that makes sense.
There was comfort in it being there, but it wasn’t quite tangible to me because I couldn’t see it. I simply knew it was there, real, and that it cared; still it wasn’t doing anything about my situation. It wasn’t changing anything. I guess the best way to put what it was doing was that it was watching and letting me know something was there and I was comforted by its presence.
At three, I had no formal religious teaching, training, no church schooling, no influence of any kind that would draw me toward God; I was also still practically a baby and so knowing God was very limited. As time marched on, I began to be exposed to a rare moment or situation where the name “God” was mentioned without a curse word attached to it; for example, where the name Jesus Christ was discussed briefly by a distant relative, like a few lines in a letter; I was also sent a children’s story bible by that same elderly aunt. I saw the pictures, read the stories, and eventually went to the vacation bible school my grandmother dropped me off at through my younger years; these I still did not connect to that being I had once sensed and felt so early on in my life.
By the time I was a young teen, I was wild and unruly, and in minor trouble. Running away from home was a crime and because I ran away often, I was considered a juvenile delinquent and a petty criminal. This kind of life wears upon a child quickly. It destroys innocence and childhood. It is indescribable in its many horrors due to the evil that is out in the world in so many forms. I believe that on the afternoon that the young Christian couple stopped to offer me a ride, that I might have died that day, had they not. Without getting into a lot of the gory details, I was tired, drained, and pretty much at the end of the line. I guess one could say I was young teen child going on twenty-eight, and didn’t much care to see another day, much less another year.
What I experienced under the guidance of a well known saint of that time, Frances Hunter, was nothing short of miraculous in the change that came over me and my life, through my calling out to God from the heart, sincerely. This saint of God prayed with and for me. Her prayer was powerful. I belonged to God officially from that point forward. Though I strayed a little some years later, I never got out of calling distance from the Lord. I always knew who my Heavenly Father was. I always knew who to come running back to when the times got tough; still I determined to continue to go my own way and I have paid many consequences for doing that along the journey.
What I have learned, essentially, can be summed up by these two words:
This describes it all just perfectly, so please take the time to read through the following so that you can understand what I’m trying to get across to you when I explain how I have personally known God.
Question: “What does it mean that God is our Abba Father?”
Answer: In Scripture there are many different names used to describe God. While all the names of God are important in many ways, the name “Abba Father” is one of the most significant names of God in understanding how He relates to people. The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as “Daddy.” It was a common term that young children would use to address their fathers. It signifies the close intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his “daddy.”
While most people, at least those who do not irrationally deny the existence of God, would claim that all are “children of God,” the Bible reveals quite a different truth. We are all His creations and under His authority and Lordship and will all be judged by Him, but being a child of God and having the right to truly call Him “Abba Father” is something that only born-again Christians are able to do (John 1:12-13).
Understanding that not all people are children of God and that becoming a child of God only happens when you are adopted by God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26) is important for understanding how and why God deals with people differently. If we are born again (John 1:12, 3:1-8), we have been adopted into the family of God, redeemed from the curse of sin and are “joint heirs with Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7). Part of that new relationship is that God now deals with us differently, which includes His chastisement when we sin (Hebrews 12:3-11). Because of that new relationship, Christians may sin, but they cannot be comfortable or content living a life of habitual, ongoing sin. If a person is living a life enslaved to sin and is comfortable in that sin and without the chastisement of God upon them, then we know they are “illegitimate and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8). In other words, they are unbelievers.
The misguided but popular concept that all people are children of God and can truthfully call Him “Abba Father” is simply not true. Just as children do not choose to be adopted or choose who will adopt them, neither do Christians choose to become children of God. Instead, God chooses them He predestines them “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5), having been chosen by God from “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
It is life changing to understand the full force of what it means to be able to call the one true God our “daddy” and what it means to be joint heirs with Christ. Because of our relationship with God we know He no longer deals with us as enemies; instead we can approach a holy God as our heavenly Father with “boldness” (Hebrews 11:19) and “full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 11:22). We have that confidence because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).
The benefits of being adopted children of God are many. Becoming a child of God is the highest privilege and honor that can be imagined. Because of it we have a new relationship with God and a new standing before Him. He deals with His children differently than He deals with the rest of the world. Being a child of God, adopted “through faith in Christ Jesus” is the source for our hope, the security of our future and the motivation to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Ephesians 4:1). Being children of the “King of Kings” and Lord of Lords” calls us to a higher standard, a different way of life and a greater hope.
As we come to understand the true nature of God as revealed in the Bible we should be amazed that He not only allows us, but even encourages us, to call Him “Abba Father.” It is amazing that a holy and righteous God, who created and sustains all things, who is the only all-powerful, all knowing, ever-present God, would allow sinful humans to call Him “daddy.” As we come to understand who God really is and how sinful we are, the privilege of being able to call Him “Abba Father” will take on a whole new meaning for us and help us understand God’s amazing grace.
Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer.
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- Abba’s Child (intimatelifelesson-reallove.com)