As I sit at my computer on this rainy day in a foreign country I constantly hear our expressive child speak words that we don’t understand interjected with “daddy, daddy, daddy….I love you.” His mother and I began teaching him this very important phrase on the first day we met him. It did not take him long to understand it’s meaning as we would use it interchangeably with the native form. Whether he is in the middle of a bath, getting dressed, or eating lunch he doesn’t stop declaring his feelings for his forever father and mother. There are days that the constant repetition has a way of being quite agitating, yet we will never tire of hearing these words. Why? Because though he feels something special between himself and these two strangers who can’t speak his language, we feel it so much more. Our love driven by the adoptive love of God is what brought us to this place.
Romans 8:15 says “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba,[a] Father!” Paul says a mouthful in this context but what he wants his readers to understand is that their spiritual adoption has changed everything about who they are and how they are to live. Paul uses the most endearing term for God found in all of scripture, ABBA. This relates to our English equivalent of “daddy.” God has replaced fear with trust for his children.
Over the last week we have watched our child move from a place of fear to a place of extreme trust. The day we arrived at his foster home and took him away from the only stability he has known for 4 years of his life was fearful. The first nap and bath time were fearful. The simple act of getting dressed in new clothes he had never seen was fearful. Yet, little by little he began to trust that we were taking care of his needs and would never harm him, let him go hungry, or purposefully put him in danger’s way. There is something special about the rejoicing that happens when your child finally trusts you enough to take a nap in your presence. We still have such a long way to go but hearing the simple words “I love you” makes it all worth it!
Do you realize today that God’s adoption of you enables you to relate to him as “daddy.” You no longer have to fear – anything. He will never let you down. He will always provide for you. He has your very best at heart and he will move heaven and earth to prove it. I know this because He already has.
We must turn from the fearful places of life, trust Him more completely, and never stop declaring “daddy, daddy, daddy…I love you.” If this earthly daddy never gets tired of hearing it how much more does God want to hear it!
Matt, Hungary Program