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(I wrote this in 1993 shortly after an amazing series of events that led up to finding my father. )

My only memory of my father was of him buying me a toy when I was five years old. He had come for a brief visit and then he stepped out of my life.

Growing up without a father I never knew what it meant to have one, and most of my life I felt I hadn't missed much. Sometime in junior high I happened upon Psalm 68:5. "A father to the fatherless...is God in his holy dweIling." Something clicked inside me and from then on I always prayed to "my Father." God planted a seed in my heart that was to blossom years later.

I knew Him as my Father, but He still seemed distant, unknowable-much like my physical father. It wasn't until I was 30 years old that I began to understand my Father in heaven desired an intimate relationship with me and it was then that my heavenly Father enabled me to find my earthly father.

After 25 years of knowing only a few facts about him, I was able to meet my father and begin to discover who he is. His desire to be with me overwhelmed me. In the same way I've discovered that my heavenly Father desires to know me and be known by me.

When Paul prayed for the Church in Ephesians 1: 17, he was praying for mature believers who needed to know the Father in a deeper way. He asked that God impart to them understanding in their minds and a supernatural enlightenment in their hearts so they might know Him better.I believe many in the Church know facts about the Father in much the same way I knew facts about my father through a letter he had left. But when Paul used the word 'know,' he was speaking of an intimate knowledge gained through firsthand experience.

The Father desires children who know Him intimately, not casually as through a letter. He desires children who can come to Him as "Papa." When Paul spoke of us crying out "Abba, Father." he was choosing a term of endearment used by a child. It always touches my heart when my three-year-old Emily comes to me with outstretched arms saying, "Papa, hold me." It's then I am reminded how my heavenly Father longs to hear me say, "Papa, hold me."

For many, the experiences we've had with our earthly fathers can hinder our ability to have this relationship with the heavenly Father. However, He wants to heal our wounds, overcome our experiences, draw us into His arms and whisper, "I love you, my child."

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