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.

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Abdel Rahman Abu Baker on Pexels.com

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!

Photo by Juhasz Imre on Pexels.com

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.”

He Already Knows..

Prayer is a wonderful thing; sometimes it’s also a curious thing. Why do we pray to a God who is omniscient? If He already knows our needs, why do we bother to ask? If He already knows everything we’ve done, why do we need to confess? If He already knows about my neighbor’s cancer, why do I start a prayer chain?

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Prayer is much more than sharing information with God. It is sharing my heart with God. What I pray, who I pray for, how and when and even where I pray– all come from my heart. God knows the information. He knows my heart, too. But He longs for me to take the time and effort to share it with Him (and to listen to His response!). God doesn’t want to be the one I turn to when I’ve tried all the other options. He is my Father, and He wants me to come to Him at every opportunity.

Moreover, when I pray, God is not surprised by anything I say, but sometimes I am! I find that one confession often leads to another– God already knew all that I had done and all about my attitude, but I lied to myself about my motive or about a small act or comment. Only in prayer does God have my full attention, and His Spirit uses that opportunity to help me see myself better, and clean the slate. Sometimes, I ask God for something I want, and God’s Spirit causes me to see what I really need, instead. Often, when I pray for someone I know, the Spirit will remind me of other ways I can pray for them, or bring another person to my thoughts. I may not know the other person’s need– but God already knows!

Finally, I find it a great comfort to pray to the one who holds everything together– the one who knows the end from the beginning, and everything in between. I don’t pray to a God who is kind, but ineffective. I don’t pray to a God who knows, but doesn’t care. God is the maker and sustainer of the universe; He is the lover of my soul, and the Almighty and Eternal One.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Today may be full of surprises– some good, some disappointing, some even overwhelming. God already knows. He knows our anguish, our hopes, our faults, and our triumphs (even the tiny ones). Many things about my life are difficult to understand or anticipate. I don’t have to know all the answers. I don’t even have to know all the “right” questions. God already knows!

Our Father

Dad.  Daddy.  Pops.  Papi.  Da.  Father.

During my youngest years, I called my father “Daddy.”  Daddy was someone to hold me when I was tired, or frightened, or just in need of a hug.  Daddy had all the answers; he could turn my tears into giggles, my pouts into apologies.  His stern word could melt away rebellion; his smile could fill my heart to bursting.

As I grew older, he became “Dad.”  Dad was wise.  Dad gave good advise– even when I didn’t always take it.  Dad listened and showed interest in what I said.  Dad challenged me to do better, think deeper, try harder, and work smarter.  Dad didn’t pick me up and carry me, but he was there beside me when I needed someone to lean on or lend a hand.  Dad was my coach and advocate.

grace1

As an adult, Dad sometimes became “Pa.”  Pa was someone who had “been there”.  He had experience, and wisdom.  He had patience and compassion.  But his days of coaching and propping me up were fewer; his days of sharing his own faults, his unfulfilled dreams, his regrets–commiserating rather than commanding– grew more and became more precious to me.  He was still my father, but he was also my friend– a fellow traveler on this road; one I knew well and loved dearly.  One I respected and trusted, even though he was not perfect.

I was blessed to have a father who was good and kind; a man of integrity and humor; a man who loved his family more than life, loved his neighbors, his community, music, nature, animals, and good food.  Most of all, he loved God.  Not with fire and brimstone fanaticism, but with humble astonishment that God would send his son to die for him.  He lived in the wonder of that truth– that “whosoever believeth (in him) should not perish, but have eternal life” included him.

I say all this, not just to honor my earthly father, or to thank my heavenly father for that relationship, but to point out how prayer is often a reflection of how we view fatherhood.  Some people have a difficult time praying and trusting God because they have never known an earthly father; or they’ve only known earthly fathers who were distant, unapproachable, or abusive.  If this is the case for you, may I encourage you to ask God to reveal himself in a fresh way, with a name and vision that is personal and distinct from the earthly father you have known.  Some people view God as “Daddy”–someone who fixes everything, holds us close, and keeps us safe.  And he is all those things.  But he is also “Dad” who wants to challenge us and coach us to grow and develop our character.  He is “Abba”, and “Senor”, “Lord,” and “Father” and “Papa”.  He is not “Pa” in the sense I knew my father, in that we are not his peers when we reach adulthood.  He has no faults to share, no regrets.  But he wants to share that precious intimacy that comes with time and familiarity–he wants us to develop trust and love as we get to know him better, however we call him.

superdad

There is one clear difference between God and any of our earthly parents– God is GOD– he is the creator and ruler of galaxies, and of microcosms,  omnipotent and omniscient, omnipresent and eternal, holy and sovereign.

And when I pray, I pray to him– almighty King of Kings– and my Father!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑