Who’s Your Daddy?

When I was growing up, I knew three important things about my father:
I knew he loved me–and the rest of our family–faithfully and truly.
I knew he loved God–He was a man of faith, prayer, integrity, and obedience to the Word.
I knew he would do anything to protect and provide for our family.

But I also knew that my Daddy wasn’t perfect. He was not the strongest man in the neighborhood; or the fastest, or richest, or most respected. He wasn’t the tallest, or most athletic. He wasn’t a leader in local politics or a chamber group or fraternal organization. He didn’t have a string of degrees, or a fleet of fancy cars. He didn’t even have a lot of hair, or perfect teeth. But he had a gentle laugh, a deep wisdom, and a hug that made me feel safe and precious. He had a enormous heart– one that was easily touched, but firmly committed. He was humble and kind; he was loyal and brave and joyful.

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I was blessed to have such a Dad. I know people whose earthly fathers were distant, disapproving, absent, or even abusive. Earthly dads, even one like mine, are still human. They make mistakes and bad choices; they carry baggage from their own childhoods; they carry fears and failures; they fall short of our expectations, and their own hopes and dreams.

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God is a different kind of Father. He is eternally sovereign; the King of Kings, and the Creator of the Universe. There is no comparing Him with anyone else’s father– because He is the Ruler and Father of all! Yet, He wants a close loving relationship with each one of us– with me! With you! He is not just committed to doing His best to provide and protect some of us– He is fully capable of providing ALL our needs and protecting us against ALL enemies, including sin and death!

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Someone once used the analogy of President John F. Kennedy. As President, JFK was arguably the most powerful man in the world– the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. At his command, soldiers, sailors, pilots, and even nuclear missiles, could be deployed. The stroke of his pen could sign bills into law, grant pardons, and appoint powerful positions. To enter the Oval Office and have an audience with the President was an honor reserved for rulers and generals and authorities– and his children.

There is a picture of JFK, Jr. as a small boy, peeking out of the Resolute Desk, as his father sits behind the desk conducting the business of the nation. The son had complete access to his father’s presence– access to the most powerful man on earth–his Daddy. He may not have fully understood what his father was doing, or even how important his father was– but he knew that he could spend time with his Dad.

Of course, President Kennedy was not God. He was fallible, and terribly mortal, as the nation learned to its grief. But the idea that God is distant and uncaring, or even vindictive and petty, is belied by the many Psalms and hymns and prayers throughout the ages. And the idea that God is just another “pal”, or “the man upstairs”–someone who loves us, but has no real power to command our obedience or rescue us from our enemies–is also belied by the many miracles and examples of His power in nature and in history. And unlike the exclusive nature of the relationship between JFK and his biological children, God invites ANYONE who calls on Him through His Son to be adopted as a son/daughter with the same intimate privilege of total access. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%201:11-13&version=HCSB (John 1:12)

So when I pray today, I’m not praying to my “Daddy” in any earthly sense. I am praying to the King of Kings, who also invites me to call him, “Abba”– “Dad.”

Just a Second…

A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog entry called Just a Minute… , which spoke of an effort to get everyone to spend one minute each day praying for their country.  I think this is a good idea, and I hope many people are doing it.

four men seated on rocks facing mountain
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While corporate prayer is a valuable exercise, and setting aside a particular time to pray with others (whether in person or in spirit) is also a great idea, the thought of a short, minute-long prayer seems inadequate, sometimes.  I suppose (indeed I hope) that most people spend more than a minute in prayer if they take this challenge.  It’s easy to do– there are a LOT of things to pray for!

But it struck me as I reviewed this earlier post that God is above, and beyond, time.  A single minute can be as rich and telling of our relationship with him as an entire hour.  And scheduling a particular time to pray is beneficial to us, but it is immaterial to our Father.  He doesn’t keep “office hours.”  There is no need for an “open” sign at the throne of grace– it never closes.  God is never unavailable, or “more” available.  It only takes a split second for us to recognize his omnipresence, and connect to it.

sign open
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There is no need for us to wait for Sunday, or a High Holy Day, or a certain hour to pray.  And our prayers may only last a few seconds or a minute– “God, I need help!”  “Thank you, Jesus!”  “God, please help my neighbor today.”  There is no need to wait until a crisis or miracle, either.  We can pray about things that may seem insignificant to others, but God is honored when we share our thoughts with him first, and throughout the day.

It is wonderful to spend long hours alone with God– when we have the opportunity, and when we have made time to honor him above all.  But he is always present.  Even in chaos and crisis, we can take a split second to remember the one who calms the storms.

time lapse photography of road during golden hour
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