I leaned over the bed to give my slumbering daughter a kiss goodnight. Abby woke up and mumbled, "Daddy, you saved my life!" I chuckled. All I did was give her a kiss. I asked her, "Are you having a bad dream, honey?" "No, just your being here saved me." I laughed later as I told my wife, Tracy, what our sleeping beauty said.
Inside, though, I was beaming. What dad doesn't want to be his daughter's lifesaver. I am keenly aware that these special daddy-daughter moments are numbered. She doesn't call me daddy too often anymore - mostly "dad." Don't get me wrong. "Dad" sounds pretty good, but I still long for the pig-tail and ribbon days when I was The Man. You dads know what I mean.
A friend told me some time ago that the time comes when daughters look at their dads differently. Dad is no longer cool. In fact, he is a little embarrassing. The funny things that he used to do that made her giggle, now elicit a roll of the eyes and an I-can't-believe-we're-related sort of sigh. My friend's solution to the problem: whenever his daughter and her girlfriends are in the car with him he turns up the oldies station and sings at the top of his lungs. My kind of guy.
Still, there may be some truth in her words. Although I didn't save her life when I leaned over her to peck her on the cheek, I am the one who, together with her mom, gave her life. I am the source of her life. I am also the one who protects and nurtures her. And I
would die for her. Even though I'm pretty certain she has never thought, "Dad would die to save my life," she knows that she is safe when she is with me.
Abby is learning about another Father who did save her life by surrendering His own. This Father came to earth as God incarnate – God in the flesh. He took the name Jesus – the very name which means "salvation." He lived a life of perfection, showing Abby and all who want to be like Him how to have life, and not just life but abundant life. And then He died. Not a natural death. He didn't live to old age and die in His sleep. Jesus didn't die from some random accident. He died intentionally. Though without sin, Jesus said to Abby and to me . . . and to you . . . "I will pay the penalty for your sin." He said to His Father, "I know that your children cannot be in your presence if they are sinful, so I will take their sins to the cross with me, and there I will pay for them." Now that is love. In fact, it is an amazing love.
The truth is, I am amazed that Abby loves me. After all, I often lose my temper. I can't seem to help her with long division without both of us pulling our hair out. I am entirely unworthy of her amazing daughter-love. As amazing as my daughter’s love is, my Heavenly Father's love for me is even more incredible. And someday when they lay me down for the last time, and I awake to find my Daddy leaning over me to peck me on the cheek, I will look up at my Abba and say, "Daddy, you saved my life!" And, I'll be right. He has.