Day 11 - Pauses for Lent - ABBA

3/18/2019

A B B A
 
“Abba, Father, everything is possible for You.”
Mark 14:36
 
As Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemene located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, He separated His disciples by leaving some behind and carrying Peter, James, and John deeper into the garden. Soon He told these three (the members of His inner circle) to stay at a certain place, while He went a little farther to pray. After falling onto the ground, distressed and worried, Jesus cried out to God, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine” (Mark 14:36, NLT).

The Aramaic term, Abba, is a very intimate word used to express great love, respect, and devotion towards one’s male parent. The apostle Paul told the church at Galatia, “Because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child” (Galatians 4:6-7a).
         
A few years ago while on a trip to view the war memorials in Washington, D.C., my wife, Sharon, overheard a young Jewish boy calling out to his father, “Abba, Abba.” Sharon said the heart-felt, sweet tone of the young boy’s voice caused her heart to be strangely warmed. This young boy obviously had a very reverent and confident relationship with his father.
         
While I as growing up, if I had known the meaning of the word, Abba, it would have been easy for me to address my dad in such manner. For years my dad was an instrument of God’s prevenient grace to me, as he taught me how to hunt, fish, sow, plow, and harvest, along with how to love and appreciate all people. My dad and I enjoyed years of mutual respect and love. Through my dad’s love for me, I learned only a portion of the love that God, Abba, has for His children.
         
During the Lenten season as we reflect, repent, and reinvigorate, I wonder how the children who live with physically- and emotionally-abusive dads will ever learn the meaning of Abba. Also, what about the children who never knew their dads or have been abandoned by their parents? Who will teach these little ones how to draw near to God so closely as to allow each one to experience the gracious, intimate love of God? Will it be you or me or some other person who adores and offers unconditional love to the little children? My prayer to Abba is that it will be one of us.
 
Prayer:  Holy, loving God, grant each person reading this devotion the opportunity to reach out to the little children in ways and means that will show him or her Your amazing love. Amen.         
 
Rev. Ricky H. Bishop, Pastor, Christ/Lebanon UMC Charge, and Chairman of the Mississippi Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors
 


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