By Karen Berry
When I was a little girl, and then well into my college days, my dad would say to me,
“That’sa My Girl!"
Sometimes it would be in a whisper if I had figured out a problem I was working through, but other times he would shout it out from the audience after a game or performance. Of course I would be somewhat embarrassed, especially during my middle school years, but mostly what I felt was adored. I knew that my dad was proud of me.
As I have grown older, I had an “ah-ha” moment – I should have been the one shouting out for all to hear,
“That’sa my Dad!”
See, in my youth, I took it for granted that all dads were like my dad, but now understand how blessed I am to have an earthly father that is a good, good man. A father that always has and continues to adore and treasure me even at my worst. A father that taught and continues to teach me the importance of strong character by living it out. He has guided me, encouraged me, and given me words of wisdom to live by. He has shown me what strong faith looks like through all kinds of seasons. What a gift a solid earthly father is for a child.
Sadly, we live in a hostile broken world. Many people have not had the privilege of having a solid earthly father, but what we do all share is an amazing Heavenly Father. An All-Knowing Father that knew everything about us before we were even born. The Lord declared these truths to Jeremiah in chapter 1 verses 4 & 5, and He also speaks them to us:
“Before, I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
We have a Father that created us, adores us, and wants more than anything to have a relationship with us. Let’s spend some time this morning diving into God’s Word to see who He is and how much He treasures us.
Throughout scripture, different names have been used to describe God. They help us to understand His character. These names give us a more intimate look at God Almighty. Instead of just being this far away All Powerful God, He is inviting us to learn more about who He is, and is asking us to draw near to Him.
Elohim (God Creator, Mighty and Strong):
The book of Genesis tells us our Father is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He created man and woman, but look with me at the intimacy with how he created man:
In Genesis 2:7 we read,
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
Our God breathed into Adam’s nostril and gave him life. So, from the beginning, we become aware of Elohim’s care and compassion for His children as He creates an magnificent place for us to live with everything we would need. Only then did he breathe us into existence. Not a far away God, but a right-beside-us God.
God continues throughout His Word to remind us that He is our Creator. Psalms 139 tells us that God knitted us together in our mother’s womb. Isaiah gives us the image of God being the potter and we are the clay. This scripture reminds me that My Creator is a hands-on God, and all He wants is the opportunity to continually work on me throughout my life, refining me and making me the best version of myself. In Ephesians, we are reminded that we are God’s workmanship and His masterpiece, which reminds us that he perfectly equips us. These are are all such beautiful images that remind me that the Powerful Mighty God that created the heavens and the earth, also created me with His hands and His breath, and for His purpose.
Jehovah Shalom (The Lord is my Peace) & Jehovah Rapha (The Lord who Heals):
I put these two names together, because in my story, they are very connected. 13 years ago, five weeks after giving birth to our son, I went into the hospital thinking I was dehydrated. A few days later, when an infectious disease had torn through my organs, I was rushed into an unexpected surgery that left me with an ostomy bag. Then things continued to spiral downward and I ended up in the ICU with a blood clot. To say I was a mess would be an understatement. I can still remember how fear had gripped me. The first night in the ICU, I was so scared to fall asleep. All I kept thinking was, “Would I wake up?”
I started to pray and cry and pray some more. Crying out to God to comfort me in my valley of darkness. And you know what? He answered my prayer. He gave me the image of me resting in the palm of His hand. I was cradled in His big hands, resting in them like I would rest in a hammock. Then, I felt a peace cover over me like a blanket. I still didn’t know if I would wake up when I went to sleep, but what I was certain of was that God was with me. The Lord is my Peace.
During this time, God also healed me. With God’s blessing, many prayers, and a surgeon at the top of his field, I was able to get the ostomy reversed. Don’t get me wrong – I still have some medical issues. For instance, I had everyone back on on their knees in prayer when I went back to the hospital for yet another unplanned surgery last summer. But because our God is the Great Physician, the One who can make us whole, I3 years ago I healed from within, and this time I was able to capture any fear and anxiety and make it obedient to Christ. And through the strength of Christ, I was able to live out 2 Corinthians 10:5.
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
I promise I am not bragging on anything I was able to do, but bragging on how God, our Jehovah Shalom, can give you unexplainable peace through the really tough situations. And, how our Jehovah Rapha can heal not only your physical body, but He also heals your soul.
Jehovah Raah (The Lord is my Shepherd):
Psalm 23 is a splendid God-breathed poem that David wrote for us as a reminder that God is with us always. His care extends over us always. A Shepherd provides, protects, gives guidance and rest; he leads his sheep and they know his voice; he will carry the hurt or weak and go after the lost, and he will lay down His life for his flock. This scripture reminds us that our God is the Great Shepherd, so we have everything we need.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
With this one word, God invites us into His arms. Daddy is such an up close, informal, and personal name. Although, we should be in awe of our Lord God, He also wants us to run into His arms when we are hurt, upset, or at the end of our rope, just as we might have run into our earthly dad’s arms when we were children.
He is ready to take our burden. He has promised to hold us up. Jesus gives us this intimate name to our Heavenly Father in Mark when he is crying out to God.
"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet, Not what I will, but what you will." 14:36
Just like Jesus, God wants us to call out to Him in our time of need. We are reminded of this promise in Romans and Galatians when we are told that the Spirit within us calls him Abba.
The last story, I would like to share with you begins when I was about 11 years old, but is a memory that impacts how I relate to my Heavenly Father.
I had the opportunity to dance in the role of Clara in the Nutcracker Ballet. During one scene of the ballet, I jumped into the arms of Uncle Drosselmeyer and let him dance across the stage carrying me. It was a trust jump. I leapt up, and he was there to catch me. He took my weight without missing a step and continued to turn and dance across the stage. Often, when I am tired or feeling broken, I turn on praise music and imagine myself dancing. Only it’s my Abba who catches me in His arms. He takes on my burdens and lets me rest. As I am cradled in His arms, I whisper “That’sa my Daddy. Thank you for all that you have done for me."
And then, when I am refreshed, renewed and ready, He knows I will sing and shout for all to hear, “That’sa my Father, my Daddy, my Powerful and Mighty Creator, My Shepherd, My Healer, My Prince of Peace, My God Almighty who created me, sees me, and adores me (even at my worst) now and for eternity!"
And you know what? He is your Father too.
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