“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 ESV)
Abba is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as Daddy. It represents the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child. During Christ’s time on earth, children living in first century Palestine would lovingly call their fathers…Abba. Christ through prayer to His Heavenly Father would call out with the word…Abba. Through Christ, we are given the opportunity to enter into an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father and call Him Abba/Father…this was revolutionary at that time, where many if not most in Christ’s time would consider it blasphemy to call God father. He taught us through his disciples to pray beginning with the word… Father. What a beautiful gift Christ gave to us that we may become sons and daughters of the only Creator and God of the universe. How intimate and deep the relationship He created for us that we may be called the children of the Living God and call Him… Abba… Father.
The father-daughter relationship is truly a blessed gift from God. A father is critical to his daughters’ self-esteem, self-image, confidence, opinions and issues relating to life, and also to her spirituality. This is one of the most important relationships in a woman’s life. The absence of this relationship has life-long implications that can perhaps never fully heal. It also has detrimental implications for our society. The brokenness of the fatherless extends through generations and contributes to the widespread darkness and despair not only in their lives but also in the lives of others. Christ is the only answer to our darkness and despair…Christ calls us all in a relationship with Him, particularly and including the fatherless, the painfully broken child.
“The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” (Psalm 146:9 ESV)
A father lights his daughters’ way. He guides her down the path of life and is very influential to all her future relationships, perhaps including her relationship with Christ.
I knew this day would come. I feared just the thought of this day. I trembled at the possibility of me having to one day confront, comfort, and embrace the six year old fatherless child which still exists deep inside me. How will I comfort her? What will I say? And more importantly, what will I say to my Savior knowing I promised Him I will never again question His will? How do I say goodbye to a father I never really knew? This week that day came. I had to say goodbye…
It is with great sadness and deep sorrow to say goodbye to you. Please know I love you and I will miss you as I already have in my life for the past forty four years. I am so very happy you recommitted your life to Christ in your later years. I heard and felt the fruit of the Spirit in the repented guilt and remorse of your voice when we shared in conversation in the last few years and in your renewed expressed love for me and I know as I write this, Christ is embracing you and you have finally found your heavenly peace. I was told at your wake you carried a picture of me as a child in your wallet throughout all these painfully estranged years. I realized you kept me close the best way you could; the only way you knew how to and this proves you loved me too. I wish I could have said goodbye in your final hours but I did not know your end was near. I am comforted by the fact your family was with you as you crossed over and finally met Jesus. I know Christ was standing there with open arms, saying, “well done good and faithful servant”. I love you daddy and I look forward to the day when Christ wipes away all our tears and makes everything whole again. I look forward to the day when we return to a world restored before sinful darkness and despair entered. All is forgiven daddy…all is forgiven! Until we meet again…
Your Youngest Daughter
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 ESV)
I’m walking through the darkness once again with the six year old living inside me, embracing and comforting this child as she is realizing the lost, long-gone years and facing once again the envy she has for the five children who were fortunate to know him as and call him their father, the complete void of happy memories, the lonely emptiness, and the brokenness, all the dark and painful brokenness of what was once an intact family. Christ’s timing is perfect; I will not question Him but only recognize and focus on the many countless and wonderful blessings He has given me through these painful, broken, and hurtful years to suffice as one of His fatherless. Thank you Jesus for being my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
In Memory of My Father…
George A. Keith
March 8, 1932-December 27, 2014