12th January 2013

Crying Out To God

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
Romans 8: 6 (NIV 2011)

The impact of the virus hit quite suddenly. I awoke in the early hours of the morning and rushed to the bathroom…the details of which you can imagine for yourselves!

The sickness was bad enough, but the pain in my head was unbearable. I suffer from migraines every now and then, but this headache was far worse than anything I had experienced before. I didn’t want to move because this appeared to intensify the agony. However, lying still was not much better as the pain just dominated everything.

I tried to pray – but I only got as far as “Father” before a spasm of pain made me stop.  I ended up just groaning, repeating “Father” over and over again.  Later that day, feeling drained but free from any pain, I prayed again. I reflected on my earlier attempts to speak to God; they were basic, almost childish – like a two year old just crying “mummy, mummy, mummy!”  Was this something to be embarrassed of? Had I put on a ‘pretty poor show’ in the presence of my Father in heaven? No. In my distress I had done the very thing that God always desires of me.

“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). Scholars differ on the meaning of Abba; some think it is like a child saying “daddy”, others believe it is more formal like “papa”. The exact meaning doesn’t matter: Abba indicates a relationship with God where we feel safe in taking everything to our Father in prayer – and that he always hears it.

How God answers our prayers is another topic. But we can be certain that he always hears us – and he appreciates every occasion we call on him, whether it is fully coherent and flowing, or just an urgent cry of “Father!”

Father, how wonderful you are! You give us the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw us closer to you, giving us the confidence to call you Father. We praise you for your faithfulness to the whole human race and to all of creation.

Study by Ian Woodley

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