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Abba Father

by Nancy Taylor Tate

“…I will guide thee with mine eye” Psalm 32:8.

David wrote in Psalm 31:1, “In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust.” I have come to understand that the trust he is talking about is measured not only by the warm feeling as we sing hymns in church on Sunday, but by the choices we make throughout the week. Those choices, and how we will make them, are greatly determined by the inner posture of our heart.

A little prayer I pray sometimes is just two words, “Abba, Father.” To understand what these words mean, think of a little child in his father’s arms. That child is not afraid that his father might drop him. He is totally secure in his father’s arms.

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” Galatians 4:6.

In prayer, I sometimes will spend time just focusing on the Lord and who He is, as I allow trust to settle in my heart. Hebrews 11:6 says that he who comes to God must believe that “He is” and that “He is a rewarder” of those who earnestly seek Him. As I hold these words in my thoughts, I believe into these words, and allow them to sink into my innermost being.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:6.

Another verse tells us that God loves those who love Him:

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me” Proverbs 8:17.

As I pray, I believe into that love. This verse also tells us that those who seek Him, find Him. In earnest desire, I turn towards the Lord as I believe into these words, that God is a God who loves me and who I can know. I can find His thoughts; I can know His will and His direction in my life.

“And the LORD shall guide thee continually…” Isaiah 58:11.

Divine guidance is not just something where today I decide to ask the Lord something and have Him answer me. It is a continual lifestyle, where, as I am yielding myself to the Lord, I am coming to know Him and His ways. It becomes easier and easier for me to recognize the nudges of the Holy Spirit, first in my daily life, then in bigger decisions.

I remember years ago, because of the neighborhood, the bank I used kept their doors locked. When I approached, they would unlock one door so I could go into the entry. Then they would unlock a second door, letting me into the bank.

I would then slide my deposit through a tiny slot, just big enough for the money to fit through, to the teller sitting behind bullet proof glass. Then they would let me out, one door at a time, the same way they let me in.

One particular day I decided I really did not want to go to that bank; I would much rather enjoy a pleasant ride while I listened to some nice worship music and drove to a bank some distance away that did not lock their doors and gave lollipops to their customers.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I was anticipating taking that ride. But as I was preparing to go, I felt the check of the Holy Spirit. That check caused me to understand I was to go to my own bank, the one that I always went to that was closer to my home. I did not understand, but I obeyed.

Later that day, I heard on the news that there was a random shooting which took place at a stop light on the very road I would have been driving on, right about the same time I would have been driving by, had I gone to the bank that gave lollipops. The Lord spoke to me in that moment, “There is no safer place to be than in the center of God’s will.”

This understanding has brought me great peace in many situations since, as I have remembered the Lord’s words to me. I am so glad I sensed and heeded that check of the Holy Spirit.

Obedience comes from a lifestyle of becoming sensitive to the Lord and His presence, through time spent with Him, and the practice of obeying Him. I have learned as much from the times I did not obey, as from the times I did. Both times I was hearing! Knowing that, platforms of faith were built where, next time, I was quicker to trust.

I remember a time I was in Ghana and the Lord told me to go sit under a particular tree at a particular time. I obeyed, and exactly what the Lord showed me would happen, happened, and so much more!

A door of ministry opened to many churches as I went from village to village. How thankful I was that I had gone and sat under the tree as the Lord had directed me! There are relationships I treasure today, that came from that one act of obedience.

Scripture tells us we are not to be as a mule, who has to be dragged in the right direction.

“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee” Psalm 32:9.

 Instead, we are to become so yielded to the Lord, that He can guide us with His eye.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” Psalm 32:8.

Have you ever had a relationship like that with someone? There has come such a level of intimacy, that you can tell just by looking at their eyes what they want, what they are thinking, how they feel.

This is the level of relationship that the Lord desires us to have with Him, where that inner knowing of the Lord begins to govern our lives, guiding us in the choices we make.

Very clearly, Scripture is a primary way the Lord leads us, giving us instruction, wisdom, and direction through His Word.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” Psalm 119:105.

The peace of God is to govern our lives. There may be pros and cons and some unsettled feelings during a time of transition. Yet there is an underlying peace which surpasses all understanding that we learn to recognize as we walk with the Lord.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” Isaiah 26:3.

“For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace….” Isaiah 55:12. 

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….” Colossians 3:15. 

“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7. 

The fact that we encounter trouble does not mean we are in the Lord’s will, or not in the Lord’s will, for in this world we will have problems.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33.

While not everything is good that happens in our lives, there comes a working of God for good through them, for those who love Him.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28.

That “good” is the formation of Christ in us. Trouble becomes a servant when we learn to respond rightly in the Lord’s hands.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” Romans 8:29.

Scripture makes it clear that integrity is to guide the decisions we make.

“The integrity of the upright shall guide them…” Proverbs 11:3.

In good times, in hard times—the Lord has promised to guide His people continually. It is not just in difficult situations, but also in those things we think we understand, that we need His direction. Notice the word “all” in the following verse:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” Proverbs 3:5-6.

 I remember a dream Hattie Hammond had once. In her dream, someone brought her a complicated piece of music. As she looked at the complexity of it, she cried out, “Oh God, help me!” She put her fingers to the keys, and a beautiful melody came.

Then they brought an easy piece of music, one she was very familiar with. “I can do that,” she thought to herself. As she confidently started to play, the discord was so bad it woke her up! The Lord showed her it was not just in the complicated things, but also in the simple, that she needed His help.

We may not always understand everything that happens. We may not always know how things are going to end up! But we can understand that God loves us. He has a plan for our lives! He is all knowing and all powerful. He is present; He is not just the God of yesterday or of tomorrow—He is the God of today. And He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

As we walk in integrity, as we apply His Word in our lives, as we acknowledge our dependence and our need to hear from Him, there is a rest we come into, knowing that as we stand in simple faith today, tomorrow is also in His hands.

The important thing is that we are standing now in faith and trust, in the place He has us, today. As we do this day by day, we grow into a poise of spirit that will continue to trust the Lord, whenever, and however, He moves in our lives, no matter how big or how small our situations might be.

“Abba, Father!” These words may be, at times, the only words we have. But they are a powerful prayer, one that positions us to rely on our Father. This cry enables us to pray not words limited by our own thoughts, opinions, or understanding, but rather into the greatness of who God is, and His plan for us.

As the psalmist prayed, may we too maintain this posture:

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee” Psalm 143:8.