Mark Twain said “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” We chuckle because the truth stings a little. As babies, one of our first words is some version of ‘daddy’. A young Jewish child will say ‘abba’, like Jesus did in Gethsemane. How is it that a man in full, at the peak of his powers will turn into a little child at his father’s feet when his world is tested beyond measure?
In his book The Lord and His Prayer, N.T. Wright wrote this:
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus called God ‘Father’, using the childlike word ‘Abba’ once more. In John’s gospel Jesus uses the image of father and son to explain what he was himself doing. In that culture, the son is apprenticed to the father. He learns his trade by watching what the father is doing. When he runs into a problem, he checks back to see how his father tackles it. That’s what Jesus is doing in Gethsemane, when everything suddenly goes dark on him. Father, is this the way? Is this really the right path? Do I really have to drink this cup?
Look close, because there’s power there.
Throughout the Bible, God presents Himself as our Father, who longs to be there for us. We show our wisdom when we acknowledge our utter dependence on Him and run to His arms for comfort, guidance and strength. T.S. Eliot said that the end of our exploring “will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” As we grow in life, God wants us to stay close. He wants us to seek Him frequently.
He is our Father.
After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.