Theology

Abba — Father

October 30, 2009
[Originally posted Monday, November 6, 2006 at 8:46pm]
Of all the names of God, each shadowing a small part of His immensely vast character, there is no name that is so dear to me as this: “Abba — Father.” In my life there could be no better description of the Holy God that has taken hold of me than to call Him “Daddy” (perhaps the most literal translation of “Abba”). What a vivid image this brings to my mind; someone who is both loved and admired, feared and revered, so far above and yet so near. There is no other religion that I know of that calls Him “Father”. It is utterly unique to our God. It is utterly unfathomable to my mind. Let me tell you why I love this name…

You see, within my very name will always be the image of my earthly father. My dad’s name is Jay, and so I am litteraly “Jay’s-son” — “Jason”. Yes, they did plan that; and though some may think it cliche, I would not change my name for the riches of the world. For hundreds of years the father’s name was imbeded in the names of their children (like David, the son of Jesse) and I could not be more proud to bear the name of my father. I love my name because it will forever remind me of the man who has made me what I am today, by God’s grace alone.

My father has been, and continues to be, the greatest influence in my life; both in his life, and even still in his death. I have never known a more godly man so intimately. I have never known a man who seeks the Lord with his whole heart, day in and day out. I remember waking up early in the morning, often times before 5:00am to do homework, and finding my dad kneeling in prayer or studying the scriptures for hours. He had a passion for the Word that I can only hope to taste in my lifetime. He had a love for teaching that I long to have some day. He had a love for people; his students, his friends, his children, and his wife. But most of all he had a love for the Lord, his Heavenly Father. And I have no doubt in my mind right now that as much as he misses us, as much as he misses the people he loved, he is right where he has always longed to be — in the presence of his Maker.

As I have been reading a book by Ravi Zacharias called “Cries of the Heart” there was a letter he quotes that gripped my heart. It is chilling because of how similar it is to my life — the boy was actually named after his father, Greg. It is a letter he wrote at the age of 12 to a family friend — and it echoes the very words of my heart. He said,

” No one will understand how or why my dad [died]. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to figure it out. My dad died for his children. He was making sure it was safe for us to come up… My mom lost her treasure-chest — her husband. Most of the others lost [Jay]. You lost a best friend… But it is different for me. Totally different for me. He was my best friend and my idol… I lost my most prized man on earth. He was my father, he was my one and only dad…”

My dad died for his children. He died for me. You see, he died from a genetic disease called FAP, which develops into colon cancer. It is a genetic disease that also riddles my body as well as those of my brother and sisters. I was told after my dad died that the reason he tried so many different treatments to beat his cancer was not so much to heal his body — he knew he might be too late to do so — but he did it so that we might know how to beat it. He died for us. The last words I heard from my dad were in the form of a question, posed specifically to my brother and I. He asked, “What is leadership?” And my brother answered with such presence of mind, “You have shown us what leadership is.” Even on his death bed, my father was not concerned with his pain, but with his wife and children.

The best thing about my father is not that he was a good man, he had many faults. The best thing about my father is that he pointed me to God, my Heavenly Father. My good friend Carrie once told me that the reason she admired my dad so much was not because of his great character, but because he reflected Christ. She said that the best thing about him was that she could not attribute the impact he had on her to Jay, but rather to God alone. And she told me that I would be best not to model my life after his, but rather to model it after the Father that his whole life reflected.

Through my father, God has given me the most vivid picture of Himself that He could ever give — one that I will forever cherish and never lose. A picture that I wish I could express in words — but words fail me; I could never do it justice. It is a picture that only 20 years of joy and sorrow could paint. A picture that spans 17 years in life, and 3 years in death. A picture that is etched into my very heart.

My dad gave me in 17 years what will take me 17 lifetimes to show. He gave me a picture of Christ — a picture of my one and only Dad — my “Abba — Father”

I will always be reminded of him when I hear the hymns that he loved so much to sing. I like to think that he is singing one right now, at the feet of his Savior, and perhaps I can join along with him in singing…

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now…”

“No one can take the place you have among us,
Or fill the void left in your wake.
And all that you’ve done here will not be soon forgotten.
But you can’t be contained in the pictures we take.”
–Levi Smith, “Go with God”
“Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of his godly ones.”
— Psalm 116:15

“Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing forever afterwards.”
–Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

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1 Comment

  • Reply Delight's in the Lord January 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    What a gift from God! He not only gives us the Bible so we can see who He is–but also others here on earth that He uses to portray Christ. Oh to be used in that way…what humbling thought.

    -Amy McMillan

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