It was a perfect California day! Sun shining, top down–not a cloud in the sky! Oh yeah! Brad had been looking forward to this afternoon for over a month. Nichole, his oldest, was back from Africa and today was the mutually cherished, annual trek into the city, for opening day of Giants baseball at Pac Bell Park. As the black Speedster shot out of the tunnel, the cool bay air hit their faces and a crystal clear view sprawled across the horizon all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Brad quietly relished the moment with joy, as Nichole launched into their familiar style of challenge and repartee. Words flew back and forth effortlessly between the bucket seats. Like clockwork, the boasting went into fifth gear, over which of them, would clean house this year in fantasy baseball.
As the two verbal fencers parried and reposted, Nichole was clueless to the subterranean stream of palpable emotions, coursing through the heart of her biggest fan. Brad basked in the sense of deep fondness and pride only a dad knows. A pride mixed with dreams and aspirations for a daughter’s life and future.
“She has no idea how amazing she is” he mused. “She’ll never know till she sits with her own kid after years of love and investment. I wonder how much she grasps how deeply I dote upon her–how many hours and days I have passionately prayed for who she is and will become in her future.”
The game was a welcome diversion from the pace of the international travel Brad had been buried in for most of the last six months. It reminded him as He sat alongside Nichole, how quickly life passes by in the blink of an eye. Flashbacks and snapshots of her passage from little girl, to the woman sitting off his right elbow, repeatedly lured his attention away from the action on the field. Deep satisfaction over her maturity and capable independence was mixed with the growing sense that he would not be the epicenter of her world in years to come.
“But that’s a good thing,” he mused with mixed emotions only a dad understands. “It’s right he reassured himself. Its what should happen.”
The post-game review was lively as usual between the two on the way back across the bridge. As they cruised up the side of the foothills the rapid-fire pace of the conversation slowed to a lull, each passenger drifting into quiet contemplation.
“Daddy.” Nichole’s voice broke the pregnant silence. “You know how you have told me so many times, how much you know me like the back of your hand and how much you really love what you see in my life. I don’t think I have ever told you how much that means to me.
If its true that you feel that way, well I am just wondering if we could spend more time together and go deeper. I don’t feel like I know you as well as you know me, and I really would like to. We have so much fun together. I know what I have with you, some of my friends would die for to have with their dad’s, but, I’ve really been thinking about it a lot lately.
I’m getting older –and … well I don’t want to go any further into my life, without you and I –well, really being close. Do you know what I mean? I really want to know what makes you tick.
I guess I see lots of my other friends these days and they have no relationship with their dads. They pretty much move out and just go their separate ways.
I guess what I am saying Daddy, is no matter where I head or go in life, I really want my life to have you in the equation. I really respect you and want to be like you. I want you to be excited about the way I am living life. Does that make sense?”
The lines in the road blurred like looking through water on a windshield, as tears formed in Brad’s eyes. He fought a loosing battle to contain the rage of warm emotions that ambushed his soul.
“Oh Coley, “his voice cracked, “that makes so much sense to me honey. Are you kidding? There is nothing more important in the world to me than you and our family. Of course I want that. You know at the game today, I was just thinking about how amazing you are and capable of standing on your own two feet. I was even thinking to myself, you are so ready for life that you will blast off even if I was to die tomorrow. I am so proud of you.
Someday when you have kiddos of your own, you’ll get the tightrope walk of letting them go to be their own person, but the tug on your heart of still wanting to be involved in their life.
I so want to honor you and give you your space as an adult, but are you kidding Nichole, I would love to go deeper and for us to know each other more intimately. I want to share whatever of me you want. What you have just asked is every dad’s dream.
12 One day Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’
13 If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
14 The LORD replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” 15 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.
16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
17 The LORD replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”
Have you paused to think lately about the nature of God as your Abba? Abba is a term of endearment. The cultural equivalent of the term “Daddy” we would use, to denote the intimacy we feel toward our earthly dad.
Genesis 33 offers us an insightful peek into the intimacy that Moses had with His Abba and vice- versa. It was a relationship where Moses was invited into the very lap of God. Like us, his doubts about his worthiness and struggles to believe that God really doted upon Him and would care for him, drove Him to seek assurances.
Over and again, God says to Moses, “ I know you by name … I will go with you personally … I will give you rest … everything will be fine for you … I will do what you ask … I look favorably on you … I know you by name.
Like Moses, we often have no idea how much our Abba dotes upon us. We have no clue, the hours in eternity he has spent, praying for us and for all that we are and all we will become. Our own brokenness, makes understanding and belief in God’s raging and relentless tenderness toward us, an illusive reality … difficult to embrace and find confidence in.
Pause this morning, and in pregnant silence, insert yourself in to this story and become Moses. Hear God say to you today, “ I know you by name … I will go with you personally … I will give you rest … everything will be fine for you … I will do what you ask … I look favorably on you … I know you by name.
When you hear it … embrace it. When you embrace it … break the silence and tell Abba how much you want know Him better and how desperately you want Him to be involved in the deepest parts of your life.
You couldn’t give Him a greater gift as a Dad.