by Wendi Matusic
If you, like me, can’t see the word “Abba” without thinking “Dancing Queen” or “Mama Mia,” you’ll likely have a few 1970’s flash backs from the title of Neal Lozano’s book Abba’s Heart. But in a convoluted way, I think that relates to what the author wants us to know – the true Abba. God as the Father. God as the Father in a personal way such that he is Daddy or “Abba”.
The book begins by showing how we are estranged from God and walks us through to an understanding that He is there as a Father for us through Jesus. By using the story of Judah Ben-Hur and an on-going thread of references to the Prodigal son we are reminded of the fullness and extent of a father’s love…of THE Father’s love. Since the earthly experience of fatherhood has a definitive starting point, it’s interesting to stop and ponder Lozano’s reminder that “The Father never ‘became’ a father, nor did the Son ‘become’ a son in some moment past or though some process.” When so much of our definition of “father” builds from our day-to-day human experiences we may struggle to grasp the meaning of God the Father who has been and will be a father through all eternity.
But another reminder in the book is that “It is a son who reveals a father…and only the eternal Son could reveal that God was a Father through all eternity.” By looking beyond our personal, human knowledge of what “father” and “son” are, we gain spiritual knowledge of the Father and the Son. So our estrangement from God comes down to a choice – “identify with sin or identify with the Son.” In such simple terms, that question may seem to have an obvious answer, yet without a true connection to God as our Father, we remain separate. It is in knowing God as our Father that we can really make our choice, yet why is such a seemingly clear answer so often elusive?
One would expect a Christian to understand the Trinity, but perhaps we do not really know God as well as we could (or should?) know Him. Perhaps it’s an expectation that God is perpetually angry at us as sinners. Maybe it’s that Jesus is like our brother we can relate to but God is the out-of-touch Dad. Or for some it may be anger toward God for perceived wrongs and blame. Lozano illustrates through bible passages, parables and stories from his ministry that God IS our Father. The loving, caring, compassionate Father we all desire and the Father we can all have a close meaningful relationship with.
Even if one’s earthly father did not meet their needs, recognizing God as the Father can heal old wounds. Through the discoveries laid out in this book, we can see God as the Father, through the son, in the Holy Spirit. Rich in detail and full of hope, this book shows us a path to God and the chance to know the good news that we are truly and completely loved and accepted by our Father.