“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15

The term father draws a myriad of emotions from the heart, each one dependent upon past and present relationships. A man who contributed his genes to a child’s physical development might choose to remain present in the child’s life. As a papa, he could shelter, feed, and clothe his child. Some fathers take the full responsibility of nurturing the child’s heart and connecting their spirits to God. These men earn the esteemed title bestowed upon them by their kids–Daddy.

Many daddies have learned to love beyond what their fathers offered them in the past. Present relationships with their own children resonate with beautiful chords of fatherhood instead of the sorrowful tones they experienced from their parents.

Regardless of their pasts, daddies hold a precious opportunity to model heroic love.

Father’s Day brings joy to those of us who had or are devoted daddies. A swelling crowd of aching hearts look on this day with regret, questions. An inner chasm still hungers for approval, security, love. Bitterness often lurks in these empty souls, draining away life and joy. Resentment thwarts current and future attempts to connect with other hearts.

Whether our paternal relationships bring cause for celebration or grief, ending the definition of fatherhood with men delivers grave risk. Human fathers, no matter how heroic, cannot fulfill our needs for love or security. Only God can offer the true love of Abba to our spirits. He alone can meet all of our needs, including renewal from childhood emptiness and pain. Our Heavenly Father exceeds the most heroic man by an unfathomable degree on every point. You name the area of provision, from love to creating life, and He’s outdone all men. Recognizing God’s difference from human fathers bears vital healing for those who didn’t have loving daddies.

He is not at all like your father.

Even if you never realized His presence, Abba has always been there for you. (Psalm 139:5-16)

Even if you didn’t notice His outstretched arms, Abba has always loved you. (Jeremiah 31:3 and John 15:13)

Even if you never listened to Him calling you by name, Abba has accepted you. (Rev.3:20)

Even if you never heard the truth about who you are, Abba extends you a place as a son of God. (Galatians 4:6-7)

Even if you didn’t experience it yet, Abba offers you security. (Psalm 34:7,22 and Jeremiah 29:11, 33:6 and Romans 8:31-39)

God alone can sustain true righteousness, so we have no other with whom to compare His nature. It’s no wonder we fail to grasp how much He differs from men. The truth remains vital to our soul, however. The All-Powerful Creator knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you with extraordinary passion and tenderness.

Whether or not you have a daddy to honor this Father’s Day, take time to celebrate your Abba.