For about a year and a half before I married Jeff, I worked in the office at the construction company where my dad also worked. He was sometimes a job foreman, and sometimes what he would call a maintenance guy, which really translated to client liaison. He had the task of returning to the homes of past well-to-do clients to change their light bulbs, flip switches on their electrical panels, and help them hang larger-than-life reindeer in their oversized great rooms at Christmastime.
In the office, I also worked with the accountant, the lawyer, the blueprint tweaker, the owner of the company, and half a dozen or so other job foreman who kept desks there. I found them all to be lovely people. Always very kind and courteous, never used course language, treated me with respect, and displayed truly gentlemanly behavior. Wonderful to work with. Completely decimated the stereotype of the crusty construction worker.
But, oh, the tales I heard. So-and-so said thus-and-such out at the jobsite. What's-his-name was so mad that he did x, y and z. Foreman A yelled at Laborer B for twenty minutes. And on and on. The stories relayed convinced me that the guys I worked with showed me only their good side.
But why? Because I was a lady? Not in this day and age. Because I was young and cute? Nope. Because I was nice? I doubt it.
I believe they used their best manners around me for one reason and one reason only: my daddy.
I believe Dad's presence in that construction office surrounded me with a rather large buffer of unspoken, but very real, protection from the crustier side of things. I didn't even realize it at the time, but several years later, I can see now that Dad was watching out for me, keeping me safe, guarding my innocence.
Never with words, but by giving subtle looks, by casually showing up to chat with whichever carpenter was leaning against my reception counter, and by laying the ground rules with each papa-proud introduction. "This is my beloved daughter, in whom I am well-pleased... (and if you mess with her...)"
Some of you know what I'm talking about because your own fathers did the same for you. Some of you are reading this wistfully, longing to have had a dad like that. Some of you can't even fathom that such a strong and protective daddy could be more than a figment of my imagination.
Whatever your relationship with your own dad, I want you to know that because of Christ, there is a Strong Protector creating, in your life, a very real buffer not just from the crustier side of things, but from the utter desolation of a world completely devoid of hope.
Don't believe me?
Think about the worst situation you've ever been through.
Now think about how it could have been worse. (And yes, it could have been worse. You could be dead.)
Now think about how you are doing now. Are you still alive? Are you healing? Are you growing? Are you moving forward? Are you using your experience to help others?
Then your Abba Father is protecting you, and has been protecting you all along.
Did He spare you from pain it has taken years to recover from? No.
Did He spare me? No. He allowed me to endure unspeakable ugliness.
Does that mean He left me unprotected? No, my sweet friends.
He was there. Crying with me. Crying for me. Making sure I could bear up under it. Guarding my life. Protecting my soul. Allowing only what it would take for me to eventually turn to Him.
The loss He allowed me to experience has been worth what I have gained.
And what have I gained?
Him. My Abba. My trustworthy, sovereign, loving, compassionate, eternal, almighty, strong, protective Abba, who always keeps His promises, and who promises never to leave me.
He will never leave you either.