The Abba Cry
Maybe because I was completely vulnerable, but I cried.
I had only been in Israel a few hours. Everything was foreign, but that didn’t stop me. I decided to brave it up and walk on my own to the supermarket. In the list of difficult things that I’ve done shopping has been never included. However, I forgot that I was in a foreign country, with a different language, and yes, a different alphabet.
I crossed the main entrance of that supermarket with a simple goal: buying food for a few days while I was getting settled in my new life in southern Israel. How difficult can be that? Well, turns out that buying something as simple as yogurt becomes a high-risk sport when you are unable to understand what the label says.
Not finding familiar brands, and having zero ability to read or speak Hebrew I strolled that store in the same way that I would explore the moon. Everything was strange, everything, even the produce section was filled with veggies that I have never seen before.
Convincing myself that I could do this, I put on my brave face and stood in front of a freezer. Fear now was on board, I scratched my head, realizing that all the packages looked the same! Yogurt? Cream? Milk? No idea. I felt how frustration built up. This can’t be that hard I thought, but boy I was wrong! I looked around trying to find some help, but to my surprise, there was no one who spoke English around me.
Hopeless while standing in the dairy aisle, it hit me: I was far, far away from home and from everything familiar. The journey that was ahead of me would be like nothing I have ever experienced before. Due to my lack of success, I officially declared the mission a failure, and at that point, my priority was to exit the store before shedding tears. While zigzagging my way out I heard a toddler’s voice. Her cry hit a deep chord in my being and stopped me completely.
With the sweetest toddler voice, she was screaming “Abba! Abba!” from the top of her lungs. Something inside of me shook deeply.
Her cry was giving a voice to every emotion that I was experiencing at the moment. The only difference was that she was expressing her distress while I was trying to hide it. I looked around quickly trying to locate her, and there she was, extending her hands to her father that now had his full attention focused on her.
Smitten by the moment, I saw how her Daddy embraced her, and I witnessed how her tears and the fear that led her to cry out faded away. A couple of minutes after, as I went my way outside of that store, on the sidewalk in Beer Sheba Israel, I got it. Tears rolled down my face and now being brave was not important anymore. I finally got it. For years I had read, sang, prayed, and repeated that word but it wasn’t until that moment I understood the weight and intensity that Abba has embedded on itself.
The Lord’s Prayer had been for years an intellectual challenge. I tried to decode the way to talk to my Heavenly Father, but in that moment it got crystal clear what Jesus was teaching: Abba is the beginning of the prayer and the beginning of our relationship with Him. The word condenses the deep, intimate, trust bonded relationship between a child and his Daddy. There was nothing to rationalize or think about it, is was a matter of being. Being His child. With Abba Jesus wanted to tell us how approachable, accessible, willing to embrace us the Father is.
How powerful must it have been to listen to Jesus teaching this! He did something completely unexpected. People ask Him how to do religion and in response, He invited us in to the kind of relationship that He has with the Father. There, miles away from everything I knew, God put in front of my eyes the perfect example of the kind of relationship that He enabled me to experience with Him. A baby crying out invited me to remove the “I can handle this” mindset and dive into the relationship that I am called have with Him: lift-your-arms-and-cry-out-helpless kinda relationship. He is Abba and He loves that. I don’t have to brave things up on my own. I don’t have to look for my own good. He is right there, eager to hear my cry and come to my rescue, after all, I am His daughter.