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Story

Papa
By Ali Kaun - June 16, 2015

Becca Radoye is a brave young eighteen-year-old lady, who recently moved 3,000 miles from the east coast to the west, to learn more about God. In doing so, God gave her an authentic community. He gave her divine revelation. He even put her on a plane and held her hand through the Holy Land. Yet in it all, because of His grace, He prepared Becca to walk through some of the most painful seasons of her life thus far. Becca recently opened up a very tender door of her heart and shared with the Rock Church’s Storytelling Team about finding comfort in Papa.

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“I remember the first time I ever experienced God as a father and as someone who desired to love me and know me intimately. I was fourteen years old and I went on a retreat for a weekend with my youth group. I went because my friends were going and I thought it would be fun, but I had no idea my Creator was about to transform the way I walked with Him. It was there, that I was introduced to Papa.

Growing up I was put in a private Christian elementary school. I was taught scripture and because of it, I had always known Jesus was a Savior. I knew He was my Savior. I understood that He died for my sin and that His blood had washed me clean. I believed through His death, there was made available to us, a gift of eternal life.

But, it was so dry.

"But Papa met me at the sea and showed me that even if my heart was in a million pieces, His hands are still big enough to hold it all."

I often questioned if this knowledge of what Jesus had done for me was all there was to God and Christianity. It felt like something was missing. Was having Jesus ‘in my heart’ truly enough to fill me every day? I felt like I was starving. I was hungry to know if there was more to God and if love could be felt more deeply with Him—if He could be known more intimately.

On that childhood retreat I learned that in scripture, God is referred to in various instances as ‘Abba.’ And English translates that Hebrew word of ‘Abba’ to ‘Daddy’ or ‘Papa.’ Indeed ‘Abba’ or ‘Papa’ is a term of endearment that I didn’t know I could call God. I had just known Him as a more formal ‘Heavenly Father.’

I learned that God desires us to know Him and experience Him as His adopted children. And this revelation rescued me from thinking I had to do more, know more, and learn more to gain the deep intimacy with Papa I had so longed for.

Throughout the rest of high school God continued to reveal His heart to me and His desire to be my Papa. He gave me opportunities to teach others about Him too.

My junior year of high school, I felt God calling me to know Him even more deeply and I sensed He wanted to equip me for ministry. I had heard about IMPACT195, the Rock Church’s School of Ministry through a friend and made plans for a visit 3,000 miles across the country, to the west.

"The pain did not leave. I could still feel it, but He sat with me in it. Yes, this is the Papa I know—the One willing to sit with me in my deepest pain."

The first time I walked into the school, I felt at home. Papa was there, and I sensed there was more He wanted to teach me. I left San Diego and headed back east to finish my senior year of high school and in so doing, started making plans to move back to California as soon as I graduated.

Just four weeks after making that decision, I had a grand mal seizure. The trauma of this experience and the weeks following it shattered me and I clung to Papa like never before.

I asked over and over again why God, why Papa, had allowed this trial in my life. His answer came softly; He was once again calling me to a place of deep intimacy with Him. Through the remaining months of my senior year of high school God brought a beautiful, deep, physical and spiritual healing to me.

Visiting the Holy Land would soon be in my future.  As I had planned, I graduated high school, moved to the west coast and enrolled in Rock Church’s ministry school. One of the international impact trips they had planned that year was to Israel. I was so excited to experience the very land that Jesus walked so long ago.

Yet throughout the preparation process, I began to feel burdened and overwhelmed. My heart grew heavy. But I believed if I could just get to Israel, a place where I thought Papa’s presence would be the thickest, that something special would be there waiting for me.

He would soon show me that I didn’t need to chase Him to the Holy Land or perform for Him in order to gain some reward. He showed me He loved the people of Israel deeply, and was willing to do beautiful miracles in our midst, but that there was no place on the planet He couldn’t also manifest Himself.

"His heart for us does not change based on the level of trust we place in Him...He stays the same, always...though my foundations may be shaken, my true identity as His child cannot. It cannot be taken away."

The historical sites where Jesus walked were absolutely breathtaking and I did experience His presence and gain profound truths, but our Papa knows no bounds and cannot be contained in time or a place or a story. His love reaches to every inch of this world and His presence dwells in each of His children.

While near the Sea of Galilee, where Peter walked on water with Jesus, I got word of my beloved Grandmother’s passing. My heart fell into pieces as I realized I would still be in Israel during her services. But Papa met me at the sea and told me that even when my heart is in a million pieces, His hands are still big enough to hold it all.

Each time I worshiped Papa from the deepest places of pain, He met me with overwhelming comfort. The pain did not leave. I could still feel it, but He sat with me in it. Yes, this is the Papa I know—the One willing to sit with me in my deepest pain.

Since returning from the Holy Land, God has allowed many more trials into my life—some even shaking the foundations of the life I once knew on the east coast. It’s been so painful and at times I have felt so far from joy. But in all of this, Papa has not changed. It is not in His character to change. He is always faithful, always good, and always our Father.

His heart for us does not change based on the level of trust we place in Him, in being His child. He stays the same, always. And because of that, though my foundations may be shaken, my true identity as His child cannot. It cannot be taken away. It is not of this world; it is held and kept with my Papa.”