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Abba, I belong to you

Abba, I belong to you. When I heard those words sung in a song at our church a few months back, my mind instantly flashed back to about 20 years ago when I was in college.
 
I went to a Christian college, and we had mandatory chapel three days a week with an optional service on Wednesday nights that I typically attended. Out of all those chapel services with all those different speakers, there is only one sermon that I can remember at all and actually only one phrase from that sermon that I remember: Abba, I belong to you.
 
I remember the man who spoke those words being a guest speaker. I recall him being of a smaller frame, probably in his 60s at the time with whitish hair. I don’t know what all he talked about, but those words, “Abba, I belong to you,” echoed deep within me.
 
After the service I went back to my room in my apartment that I shared with five other friends, and I sat alone in my room, repeating those words that had resonated in my mind and heart. Each time I said “Abba, I belong to you,” I recall feeling such peace, comfort and love.
 
Throughout college and a few years after I would periodically repeat those words, but the longer time went on, the more they seemed to get lost in my memory bank until that Sunday morning when my memory was revived by the sound of those words.
 
I thought it was just a peculiar coincidence that someone wrote that song and didn’t relate any correlation between the song and the sermon I had heard. Our pastor actually talked about it one Sunday and said a man named Brennan Manning had made that phrase popular.
 
That name rang a bell, and I wondered if I actually got to hear this famous man of God in person speak those words. I looked up his picture on the internet and deducted that it was the guy I remembered. Then I looked up the song, and the writer did indeed base that song on Brennan’s prayer that has now become famous. What a privilege I had at the time, and I didn’t even know it.
 
Those words resonated so deep in me because of what the word Abba means. It is of Chaldean origin and is a warm, affectionate way of saying father. It has no perfect equivalent in our English language. The closest way we would relate would be like a child calling their father daddy. It signifies trust, love and a special level of intimacy between a child and father.
 
All of our boys still call us mommy and daddy, and they actually have gotten corrected by us if they try to address us as mom or dad. Mommy and daddy has a much more affectionate ring to it, which we want to milk as long as we can.
 
We always want them to see us as their safe haven, their loving mommy and daddy who loves them, protects them and is always there for them. We don’t want it to be a formal relationship but an intimate one in which they always feel safe and close to us.
 
I didn’t know the goodness of God like I do now, but back then during those brief moments that I got still and uttered those words, “Abba, I belong to you,” it took me to a deeper level of intimacy with the Lord than I had ever experienced before. It got my mind off of myself, wondering if I was good enough to please God, and thrust me deep into the presence of my Abba daddy. I felt safe and loved.
 
Here’s one thing I know: We need to stop going to God as if he is some formal father that we approach in fear, hoping we are good enough for him, and instead come to him as an accepted child of our Abba daddy.
 
I would encourage you to take time to be alone with him and whisper those words, “Abba, I belong to you.” Don’t just do it once. Do it several times. Make it a habit. And then picture God as you would picture a loving daddy with his child, taking the child into his arms and hugging and kissing them and pouring out his love upon them.
 
Now picture that child as you. God is waiting for you to invite him in so he can shower you with his love. He is a good daddy who dearly loves his children.
 
Amber can be reached at amberdeemiller32@gmail.com">amberdeemiller32@gmail.com or through her AmberRiceMiller Facebook page.
 

Published: April 16, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180419962