Gracious and Kind Abba

Gracious and kind Abba. 

Psalm 116 is a really beautiful Psalm, and a picture of the relationship God the Father wants to have with us. I would encourage you to read the entire Psalm, but Verses 5-7 really stood out to me. 

5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

What sticks out to me most is that it says, “return to your rest, my soul,” inferring that we were created to be resting beings. Somewhere along the way humanity lost this characteristic and replaced it with business. Maybe that is why true, genuine rest feels so effortless. Because it is how we are supposed to be. That is something the Lord is still working on with me.

Understanding God the Father to be gracious, loving, and kind, labeling him as Abba, these things come easy to me. I am very grateful, and I am very fortunate to have a very good Earthly Father. My dad is my best friend. To be honest, my relationship has been so good with him that I am prone to forgetting to acknowledge I have something better. That is harsh for me to realize because I love and adore my Earthly parents, but there really is a greater Dad out there. 

As I have gotten older, seeing God the Father as loving and kind has not been very hard. I have had a factual understanding, because I believe the words in the Bible, that He is gracious and loving, however I have struggled at times to felt seen and heard. This is an Earthly and a spiritual struggle I have had my entire life with both humans and God. I know He loves me, and I know He cares, but sometimes I feel misunderstood or unseen. That is something that I struggled with my Earthly dad for a long time. We can get into these passionate arguments about something, and stubborn as we are, we will see things differently and not understand the other person’s point of view. I think I do this with God. I argue. A lot. But something shifted a few years ago.

Freshley did a sermon on the Old Testament names of God my freshman year, and the one that
stuck out to me the most was El Roi: The God who sees.
El Roi, “The God Who sees” Leader Edition

The world is really bad as seeing YOU instead of seeing a list of things about you. It sees your race, your religion, your culture, your intelligence, your career, your quirks, your clothes, your opinions and thoughts, and it takes those things and determines that because those do not fit the mold, that you are less than, that you are not worth listening to. The world fails to see YOU as a whole, to see your talents and gifts, your genuine personality, the good things, the reason why you think or do the things you do. And maybe your Earthly father does that too. Mine, as loving as he is, is not perfect, and sometimes we do that to each other. Love between humans sometimes has absolutely nothing to do with how you feel about a person. You can love them fiercely, and you can disagree fiercely. With Abba, however, love has everything to do with it. He loves you deeply despite your differences. He doesn’t ignore the parts of you that the world does. He sees your personality. He sees your likes, your dislikes, your quirks, the weird things about you only your best friend knows. He sees the negative things too. He sees everything, but instead he focuses on YOU and loves YOU no matter what all those other things entail.

This really challenged my guilt complex. And it really challenged my misconception that nobody saw me for me, even my best friend and Earthly Father. Maybe it was the teen angst, but mostly it was the enemy taking something that is so special to me, my Earthly dad, and using him as a weapon to shift my view on Abba. He is crafty, and it honestly makes me so mad that he took one of my most prized possessions and used it against God, but I get to sit here today saying that He can’t and doesn’t do that anymore. Abba is Father. He is good. He is kind. He is loving. And He SEES me, loves me, acknowledges me, and he WANTS me. Whether you have the best relationship with your Earthly Father, a bad relationship with him, or no relationship with him, you get to share with every single human in the fact that God the Father is kind, loving, sees you, and wants you. 

I think I always separated God the Father and God the Son, but as I have gotten older, I see how intertwined they are. Because God is loving, He sent Jesus to love us in person. Because God is kind, He sent Jesus to heal us and show us kindness. Because God sees us, He sent Jesus to look us in the eyes, to see the ones the world does not see, like Zacchaeus or the adulteress in John 8. Because Abba wants you, He sent Jesus die on the cross to take you back from the grip of the enemy. 

Connecting God the Father to God the Son changed how I viewed Abba. It is an ongoing process to shift from the factual mindset to the relationship mindset. I very much have a long way to go in how to actively pursue that relationship with God the Father, but this would be my encouragement to you:

Wherever you are at, there is always room for more. Don’t let that be a discouragement, but rather a confidence boost and reassurance that you do not have to be at a certain level with God to be accepted by Him. EVERYONE could grow in how they interact with Him, even the seemingly “perfect” and devoted believers. Comparison is the thief of joy, so ask God to intentionally put blinders on you to remove the distractions from your peripheral line of sight, to set your eyes on Him alone. Ask Him for guidance on what it looks like for you to have a more open Father-Daughter or Father-Son relationship with Him. 

The song “He Has Time” by Common Hymnal and Jamie MacDonald paints a really beautiful picture of this relationship, this freedom from guilt and shame. If you connect through music or writing, this is a really powerful song, and I think it really adequately puts into words the powerful redemption we can find in seeking a relationship with God the Father and God the Son.

Author | Rachel Henderson 





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