Monday, July 5, 2010

"Abba, Father"

Watching my grown children hurt is like having my heart ripped out. The complexity of what is bringing them pain is unimportant, because when I see them suffering over any issue, I simply want to cry. The irony is that I want God's blessing for both of them and I realize that as children of God, we all have to experience times of suffering in order to grow in Him. I would never want them to miss His blessing. In turn, I fully understand that times of suffering are necessary and will be turned to good by our faithful Father. As I watched my son struggle a week ago I prayed, "Lord, have your way with him... but please be gentle, " then cried the hidden tears of a loving Mom who could do very little to help.

Since we are God's children, I wonder how God feels when he sees us hurting. Let's look at Jesus, God's only begotten Son, as an example. He is described in Mark chapter 14 as "very distressed and troubled" in the garden just before His arrest. In prayer, Jesus cried out to the Father, calling Him "Abba." This is an Aramaic word for "Papa." When Jesus was suffering, He called out to His "Papa," His loving Father who is caring, gentle and compassionate.

A "Papa" can be thought of as a father who comes to his child when called, stands alongside during times of distress, and does not wish to see his child suffer. Unlike me, God could have stopped His Son's suffering since all things are possible for Him. Instead, He kept the bigger picture in mind, the salvation of God's people for all eternity, and allowed the pain.

God doesn't enjoy watching His children suffer, in fact, I believe it breaks His heart. But as a loving parent, He allows things that bring discomfort to accomplish His eternal plan. As Joseph said to his brothers who had tried to murder him, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20 NASB).

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