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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Believe -- Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed -- the Fourth Meditation

 This is the next of the forty meditations. You can find the book on Amazon. Follow this link here. (Also available on Kindle)

Creed Statement: I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

Today’s Focus: The Father

[Jesus] came to what was His own, but His own people did not accept Him. But to those who did accept Him He gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God (John 1:11-13).

            Sixty years. That's how long it's been since my father abandoned me. The day is tattooed into my memory. I remember where I sat and what I was doing when Mom told me Daddy would never be coming home.

            My father was never there when I had problems with school, or friends, or when I started dating. He never attended my school plays or high school football games. He never showed up at my Boy Scout award ceremonies, never saw me graduate high school or college, get married, and raise children. When I searched for him years later, he wrote back a scathing reply and ordered me to leave him alone.

            As my four-year-old mind tried to absorb Mom’s words that somber day in 1954, I didn't know my heavenly Father was there, sitting on the couch with me. I didn’t know He embraced me as I walked to Dad's closet, took his wallet, and hid it, hoping to force him to stay with us. I didn’t know God stood beside me during my teen years when I got snared in a revolving door of drugs, sexual sins, brawls and thefts. I didn’t know He wept with me as I sobbed on my sister’s shoulder, "I never had a father. I never had a father."

            “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty.”

            There are times no other words speak more powerfully to my emotions than “God, the Father.” Sometimes I sense Him so near I can feel His warmth. When I meet Him in prayer, I can feel Him draw me into His arms. If I listen carefully, I hear Him whisper, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.”

            What do you think about when you think about God as your Father? Perhaps your relationship mirrors mine. Maybe it was better, or much worse. Whatever the memory, of one thing we can be certain: Golgotha’s hill proves for all time and into eternity, “Even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10).  Through Isaiah God promised, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of My hands I have written your name; your walls are ever before Me” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

            As we recite those simple words of the Creed – The Father – we remind ourselves the God of the universe is our Father.

            Why do we sometimes doubt that?

Prayer: (From Psalm 103): Lord, You are compassionate and abounding in love. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your love for those who fear You. For the sake of Christ’s sacrifice, You remove our transgressions from us as far as east is from west. As a father has compassion on his children, so You have compassion on those who call to You for mercy. Have mercy on us, Father. We are Your people, born by faith in the atoning blood of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.



Herb said...

I can't imagine growing up without Dad. He was my world. My teacher, my moral compass and my friend. He loved his 3 kids equally and enjoyed playing with us, taking us places like camping, sking, hockey practices and Church. He made me into the man I am today. Relationships are a two way street. Each benefiting from each other. How a man can walk away from a wife and kids is criminal. I do believe in karma, and what comes around goes around. Im sorry you had to experience all that Rich.

Rich Maffeo said...

Thank you, Herb.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Reading your story I realize how very blessed I was to have a good father who, more than anything else, encouraged us to practice our Faith. Like Herb, I just can't imagine how a man can walk away from wife and kids forever and even years later, reject his child. Over the years I've come to see that God is the only one who never lets us down and is always with us just as you've described. Humans will always disappoint us, but our heavenly Father, never.

Rich Maffeo said...

Barb. Amen. I am sure it is one reason I feel so close to Him. Why I often call Him 'Daddy.'

Rich Maffeo said...

Barb. Amen. I am sure it is one reason I feel so close to Him. Why I often call Him 'Daddy.'

Paul Schratz said...

This was painful to read, Rich. I'm so happy you found your father in heaven, who has never left your side. God bless.

Rich Maffeo said...

Thank you, Paul. My 'father' meant it for evil, but my Father God meant it -- and changed it -- all for good. Of that, I am convinced.