It is interesting to do a study of God’s word and see just how much Jesus, as God the Son, had to say about God the Father. He taught us many things about our Heavenly Father, not the least of which was that we can affectionately call him “Abba” (or “Daddy” in the modern vernacular), because of the love He has lavished upon us.
As I was reflecting on these things, I couldn’t help but think of my own earthly Father, and the love he showed me while he was alive. James Doyle, Senior Pastor of Foothills Southern Baptist Church in Yuma, Arizona, must have had a similar upbringing to mine, as well as a similarly loving father. He shares the following story from his own childhood.
As a five year old, I would pretend to fall asleep during the evening worship service! If I did, I knew my dad would carry me home.
I would do this because we walked to and from church. It was about one mile each way. Being little wasn’t my problem. The length wasn’t my problem. I enjoyed the walk with my family. However, my older brothers teased me by telling me that in one of the fields we’d walk through there was a "boogey man" who would "get me". Now that frightened me! One night I really did fall asleep. Dad picked me up. I woke up right away but continued to pretend to be asleep as he carried me.
That night we went right through that frightening field and I was not one bit afraid. I felt the warmth, the strength and the protection of my dad’s arms. To this day, some 50 plus years later, I can still "feel" his arms and "hear" his breathing as I remember his ultimate protection.
So, it wasn’t long until I would constantly pretend to fall asleep on the pew, knowing I could go through that frightening experience safe in my dad’s arms!
Today, when I talk about death and dying, I realize that it, too, can be a frightening experience. But one thing I know for sure, I am always safe in Abba’s arms. He made me a promise that when my room was ready, He would come for me and take me there. Even the frightening experience of death’s field is no match for our Father’s secure and strong Arms!
Well said, James. I can relate so well to this story. So many times, as a small child riding home from church, I pretended that I was asleep, just so my father would carry me inside our house from the car and put me into a warm bed.
Years later, of course, when I became a father myself, this whole scene was to be repeated many times; only by then, I was the father carrying my own children inside to bed. I knew they were only pretending to sleep, but somehow I didn’t mind. I rather enjoyed carrying them all along.
For my part, I am thankful for the love of my earthly father. I am even more thankful for the love of my Heavenly Father. The first one loved me for a time; the Other for all eternity. In their own respective ways, each has loved me and carried me safely toward home in the arms of love.
NOTE: Rev. Doyle’s website is: http://www.foothillsfamily.