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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed -- The Fifth Meditation

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

Today’s focus: Almighty

A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian . . . From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne . . . (and) four living creatures . . . do not stop exclaiming: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come (Revelation 4:2-8).

            For seven fear-filled years, the Midianites spread terror across Israel. Bands of marauders ravaged villages, slaughtered men, women, and children, and stole their possessions. Israelites lived like hunted animals, hiding in caves and along cliffs. Gideon was one of those Israelites. Then one day, as he threshed his meager wheat harvest, an angel called to him, “The Lord is with you, O champion” (Judges 6:12).

            But Gideon answered, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” A moment later he added, “And where are the miracles we’ve heard about all our lives?”

            It’s easy for me to point a finger at Gideon and marvel that anyone could think the days of God’s miracles were over. Yet, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “God answered my prayers in the past, but how can I be sure He will do it again? God took care of us before, but will He do it now?”
            Like Gideon, I believe in the almighty God of the past, but I’m not so convinced He’s the same God of the now – or the future.
            What nonsense. If you remember the text in Judges, Gideon, along with three hundred men armed with nothing more than clay pots, torches and their faith, won a miraculous victory for Israel. (See Judges 6 and 7).

            What are our Midianites? Chronic Illness? Unemployment? Divorce? Terrible loneliness? If faith teaches us anything, it’s this: God is never limited by time or resources. What He opens, none can close. What He shuts, none can open. God is our Almighty Father. Compassionate. Involved. He knows the number of hairs on our heads, the thoughts in our hearts, and our words before they cross our lips. A sparrow won’t fall to the ground without His knowledge – and you and I are of much greater value to God than a sparrow (Matthew 10:29-31). And even if our prayers go unanswered, sometimes for decades, the truth remains: God is good. All the time, and in all circumstances. He will never leave us alone, but will walk beside us even through our storms.

            It’s easy to recite Creeds and believe in past answers to prayer. But when the doctor’s report takes our breath away, when floods engulf our homes, when fires consume our livelihood – the words of the Creed, “I believe in . . . the Father almighty,” can be an unyielding rock and a declaration of victory for those who trust Him – even to the jaws of death.
            Gideon believed the days of God’s mighty works were over. Let’s not make the same mistake. Our God and Father is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Prayer: Lord, I need You. Be my shield and companion, my strength and tireless resource. Be my comfort and guide. I lose focus when life’s storms shake my faith, when windstorms uproot my confidence in Your might and mercy. Send Your Holy Spirit into my heart and nurture my trust in Your everlasting power and love. Amen.


Barb Schoenebergerh said...

It was a watershed moment for me when I realized that God doesn't always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need. Because we're human we often see how He was with us in hindsight, not at the moment. But if we look for His hand in all the little things, and if we can trust that in all our sorrows and evil events that befall us He is polishing us up for heaven, we can just do our duty and be at peace even if we are hurting.

Rich Maffeo said...

Of course it's easy to say -- but not so easy to do. It always can be reduced to faith -- no wonder the Biblical writer said: Without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6)