I have not been able to stop thinking about this whole issue of “faith”. These last few days, I have been viewing it from various angles. Today I have been looking at it from what I will call, the “parental perspective”.
In raising my children, there were times they would come & ask for something or to do something. In thinking about the request, I knew it would not be a good thing to grant. It was not in their best interest. It would not benefit them. And so I would say, “No.” It wasn’t because I couldn’t give it to them. I could have. But it was not the best thing for them.There were other times, they would ask & I was able to give them exactly what they were requesting.
Never, not ever though, did they ask for something & instead receive somethingentirely different than was requested. As parents, we either filled the request or the answer was “No”. Nothing was substituted. The substitution would not have met the need nor their desire.
This week, I have been experiencing God in my life as my “Abba”, my Father.
Abba is a term of endearment. In biblical times, it was not a title given out of respect or fear. It was one of deep love, of relationship, of dependency, of deep sentiment. An equivalent today might be “Daddy” or “Papa”. It brings to mind a friend I have from down south who, at an age greater than 50, still refers to her father as,”Daddy”. Every time. When she refers to him with that name, you KNOW all the love & regard & respect & deep relationship that it encompasses. There is no doubt left in your mind.
“Abba” entails knowing that as I come to Him in that depth & intimacy of relationship, He will take care of me. I am safe in His Presence. He will make it all right – in His time, in His way, as only He can.
Through the death & resurrection of Christ, our Lord, I have been given the privilege of sonship.
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 NLT).
It is further explained:
“You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!”. Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child?”. (Galatians 4: 6-7 The Message).
It is because of this privilege that has been given to us that we can enter into intimate conversation with God. How precious a relationship we have been granted!
Let me come full circle to where I began…..
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! ” (Matthew 7:9-10, NLT).
The Message words it this way….
“If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? ”
Did you catch that wording…..”do you trick him with sawdust?”. “Do you scare him with a live snake?” Why is it then that we would think that God would do that to us?
Much the same way I would only do for my children what is best for them, our God responds to us in the same manner. He will grant my request, when & only when, it serves His purposes in my life. When He withholds, it is not that He is holding out on me but that He knows this would not be beneficial in my life. He is withholding in order to grant what is better. That portion in Matthew goes on to explain it this way:
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
May I always remember that all He does, all He gives me, all He grants me in my life, & all that He does not, is always for my ultimate good.
“You are good, and what You do is good.” (Psalm 119:68, NIV).
All the time.