Abba, Father!

—the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

— Romans 8:15

Is God not my very own Father? Is he my Father only in a sort or fashion—by a legal contrivance? The adoption of God would indeed be a blessed thing if another than he had given me being! But if he gave me being, then it means no reception, but repudiation. “O Father, am I not your child?”

It avails nothing to answer that we lost our birthright by the fall, that I have been cast out: can any repudiation, even that of God, undo the facts of my origin? Nor is it merely that he made me: by whose power do I go on living? When he cast me out, did I then begin to draw my being from myself—or from the devil? It cannot be that I am not the creature of God. Creation in the image of God is fatherhood. To be fit to receive his word implies being of his kind. No matter how his image may have been defaced in me: the thing defaced is his image, remains his defaced image. What makes me evil and miserable is, that the things spoiled in me is the image of the Perfect. In whatever manner I may have become an unworthy child, I cannot thereby have ceased to be a child of God. Is it not proof, this complaint of my heart at the word Adoption? Is it not the spirit of the child, crying out, Abba, Father? However bad I may be, I am the child of God, and therein lies my blame. Ah, I would not lose my blame, for in my blame lies my hope. It is the pledge of what I am, and what I am not; the pledge of what I am meant to be, what I shall one day be, the child of God in spirit and in truth.

Commentary

The Lost Lamb
by Stephen Carney

   “It cannot be that I am not the creature of God.  Creation in the image of God is fatherhood.  To be fit to receive his word implies being of his kind.  No matter how his image may have been defaced in me..”

I have often said that we must look for the presence of God in every person, no matter how scarred they may be from sin.  Try to look past the sin and see what God had in mind when he made them. If God made us in his own likeness, then we must be his children, MacDonald argues, and to translate the word adoption to mean we weren't his children is to misunderstand the Gospel.  Certainly, if we are not God's own children then he cannot claim what isn't his; we must all either be the prodigals waiting to come home or we are no children at all, and therefore we have no home to come back to.  In fact we never left home at all and the Father cannot be looking for us to come over the hill and back into his love and care.  But, such is not the case.  We are his children and he is watching the horizon for us to return home.  He is drawing all mankind unto himself and bringing us back into the fold. 

We are his sheep and he is looking for lost lambs.  Many years ago I used to counsel victims of abuse, and many of them had difficulty relating to God as Father, because their earthly fathers had abused them so.  Jesus said, “Call no man on earth your father.”  I think that must be because we are such poor representations of our true Father.  Only Jesus could say, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  Jesus knew that the true Fatherhood is something far greater than just the ability to conceive a child.  It is possessing the qualities of love, protection, and provision that allow a child to know that they are loved and will be alright in the end.  It is the ability to wipe tears from the child's eyes and to lead them back to their true home.  To a place of rest for them, maybe beside still waters and green pastures.

I remember one day after a week of counseling several victims of abuse, I sat down to write with the faces of all these women who had lost their childhood in my head and all at once their faces merged into one.  Then came these words:

The Lost Lamb
by Stephen Carney

 I had seen the look in her eyes before, the hurt, the pain.
Her childhood had been lost and she was waiting to be born, again!

But for now she was a lost lamb left on a mountainside, cold and shivering.
She was frightened, and alone. She had been caused to stumble and fall.

Then Jesus spoke, and said, “Come, let us go up on the mountaintop
And rescue this wounded child, this lost lamb.”

And so I followed Him, up the steep mountain, up the steep cliffs.
It was a hard and difficult climb.

I wanted to quit at times “We’ll never make it”, I cried.
But Jesus just kept climbing and I just kept following up.
                        up

             up

up
Until we reached the hidden rock where the child was hiding
She was bruised and wounded, and anyone could see what they had done to her.
She was suffering and weeping and shaking and Her feet were cut and bleeding, from
the frantic climb

to escape their clutches. My attention was drawn to her eyes.

Though filled with tears they were crystal clear. And beyond the pain and fear they expressed,
There was a shining innocence.

I watched as Jesus began His work of love.

First He waited for her eyes to meet His.  And then He waited some more,
until He knew she trusted Him.  I watched in amazement as He tenderly moved towards her,
taking her precious little face in His hands.
He looked deep, very deep, into her heart and soul.
She reached out to Him and threw herself upon Him.
And atidal wave of tears flowed from her heart
and she cried for what seemed like years.
Eventually the water ceased to flow, she raised her head,
and looked into His eyes once again. Then Jesus smiled,
And ever so gently, touched her tears, with the tips of His fingers.
And, with the tears upon His fingers, He touched the bruises, the cuts, the pain.
As He anointed her with tears, her healing began!

Then Jesus gracefully picked her up in His strong arms,
and He carried her back down the mountain.
And I could see that He was filled with such boundless joy
over finding His little lost lamb.