Often I have heard it said that a person’s relationship with God is influenced by his/her relationship to their father. I know that has been true in my own life. For years, I had not been able to relate to God as my Father. And the verse in this psalm really bothered me -
Psalm 103:13: As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on the faithful.
My father had sexually abused me for years so I was not able to see God as a compassionate Father. My image was of God the Creator. I saw God in nature - sunsets and oceans and stars and animals. Then one day I heard a priest give a talk about God as Abba. He said that God was not just our Father. He was our Daddy, our Papa. That is how Jesus referred to him and that is how we can refer to him as well. So did I have a father after all? One of compassion? Was God really my abba? My daddy? Could I possibly see Him that way?
It has taken years for that to really sink in and take hold of my heart. I remember so clearly the day a nun once greeted a group of us women as the beloved daughters of the Father. And I knew in my heart then: it was true. I was indeed a beloved daughter of the Father. I did indeed have a merciful and compassionate abba. I had had a father all along.
So I read Psalm 103 this weekend and I came to that verse 13 again. I still winced when I read it. But I didn’t shake my head at the idea of God being my compassionate father. That was something I embraced right away and I prayed over it.
And as graced moments so often are, I was surprised and felt some peace and gratitude. And I felt like a beloved daughter. And I thanked my Abba in heaven.