Word From Base Camp: ABBA
Many Field Buddies secretly harbor a long-standing fear of abandonment. Growing up without the assurance and presence of a loving father generates a paralyzing despair and often fosters a hopeless outlook on life.
As Mentor Fathers, we may acknowledge this fear but speak beyond the lingering pain endured by our Field Buddy. While in our presence, his face may reveal a joyous disposition as a result of our gracious and focused attention. But the reality of an absent father may emerge in the boy’s life as a frequent and unwanted companion, especially in the midst of difficult or challenging days or when we’re not present.
Many people outside the ministry may object and say, “John, some of these boys have an adult living with them at home, so they’ve not been abandoned.” But in God’s eyes, a fatherless boy is an orphan. Every boy needs a father to instill identity, impart instruction and inspire confidence. Without a father, most boys drift along in the dark waters of uncertainty, indecision and apprehension.
Fathers in the Field is uniquely positioned to fulfill God’s command to defend the fatherless. We are called to deliver and embody a clear biblical answer to the pain and vulnerability of growing up without a dad. As we prepare to enter the next season in our ministry together, I would like to remind you of our extraordinary place in God’s heart.
Each of us was created under the sovereign care and intentional will of our heavenly Father. Armed with this understanding, we’re reminded that none of us is a mistake. We were knit together in our mother’s womb with astonishing detail and purpose. Our names were heralded in heaven before we drew our first breath, even as God determined and ordained the number of our days. Each hair on our heads is numbered and God knew the very moment when you would pause to read these words. But our spiritual heritage is magnified further in Christ.
In Galatians, the Apostle Paul proclaims God’s love for us is expressed most vividly and powerfully through the death and resurrection of his son. Jesus’ sacrifice secured our status as adopted sons – joint heirs with Christ. While declaring the glory of our unique and lofty position in God’s family, Paul declared:
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” ~ Galatians 4:5
In this passage, “Abba” is employed with the warm familiarity of our word “daddy.” Used occasionally by Jewish children in addressing their earthly fathers, “Abba” also was used by Jesus as he prayed to our heavenly father in Mark 14:36. With confidence in the secure and unwavering presence of the heavenly father, we can speak this truth into the anxious lives of our Field Buddies. Once we accept Christ, we are forever adopted into the family and enjoy the immutable promise of an ever-present Father. This is the love story God desires each of us to experience and share with others. No wonder Jesus prayed with such clarity and confidence!
With focused effort, we can strengthen and encourage the hearts of our Field Buddy by offering the assurances of God’s promise, not just platitudes and clichés. Though abandoned once, these precious boys need to know they are always loved. Even as they endure periods of doubt and disbelief, we can serve as gentle reminders our Heavenly Father knows, hears and loves them with an unmatched affection and consistency.
I pray you embrace this wonderful opportunity to leave a spiritual legacy to fatherless boys. Together, may we lead these young boys to acknowledge the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit so they may understand and experience the security and embrace of the “Abba! Father!” In other words, their daddy – a daddy that will never leave or forsake them.
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