My father died from colon cancer was I was 16 years old. That was over 36 years ago but I still remember an incident which took place after I left the house shortly after hearing the news. As I walked, I raged at God. My dad had become a Christian exactly three weeks ago and now...
I was not and never have been angry at God about what happened. Never. I will always be overcome with gratitude that my dad spent his few remaining days praising God and testifying to anyone who stepped into his hospital room. However, I did have questions and of course, my heart was broken as well. My mother is still living so I do not know what it is like to lose a parent when you are an adult but when you are still growing up, you feel completely unprotected and are fearful that the other parent will suddenly be snatched away as well. I remember looking up at the sky and crying out, "I know I will see him again someday but You have left me alone without a father here!"
I will never forget what God said to me in that moment. Not audibly for there was no need to. He was talking to me and I knew it was Him for only God would have said this. "You have a Father." As He did, I remembered these words, "Our Father which art in Heaven". I also remembered at that moment that sometime before the age of 30, Joseph had probably died. Jesus understood what it was like to lose an earthly father as well.
My earthly father was no longer there to care for, protect me and teach me... but my Heavenly Father was. I was not abandoned. I still had a father and I was comforted. Needless to say, this has influenced my relationship with God. Having no earthly father to go to, I go to my Heavenly Father instead. I share the laughter with Him as well as the tears. When I am in need, not having a dad to call on, it became natural to call on Him.
Over the years, it has disturbed me a great deal when people act like it is disrespectful to think of God as your Heavenly Father. They have no problem with it if that means He is a powerful, cold and distant judge who dispenses punishment. Sadly enough, that is the concept many people have of a father. There are also people who think if you refer to God as father , you view him as some sort of indulgent father who can't say no. The enemy has done a good job in tainting our definition of father. No wonder we are so messed up!
A true father teaches and disciplines his children. However, he also loves them so much that he is willing to lay down his own life to care for them and protect them. This is exactly what happened at Calvary.
We are taught to say Abba Father and that intimacy serves me well.