Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
This past Tuesday, I spent the day at a pastor’s conference in Flemington. As part of our devotion/study for the day, we spent a good deal of time reflecting on the 1st article of the Apostle’s Creed. You know it well. We say it nearly every time we gather for worship. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” Even in a room full of pastors, who have spent years studying and teaching this very truth, it was a powerful moment to really let the weight of this confession sink in. The initial takeaway starts off very big. God is the Creator and He is almighty. We know this. We get it. Before Him there was nothing. Then, He spoke all that we see (and don’t see) into existence. God speaks and “bang” things happen. But we also acknowledge that this is a truth that speaks to a reality that is so big and beyond our human-limited comprehension. Have you ever stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon? Have you ever felt the rush and power of Niagara Falls? Have you sat on a sandy beach staring off into the endless ocean? Creation itself is a powerful testimony to God’s incalculable immensity. Undoubtedly, there has been a mountaintop moment that left you awestruck by the magnitude and power of God’s omnipotence, performative speech, and artistic authority. In this very first part of the creed, we rightly testify to the fact that God has made all things and He continues to give us everything we need for existence. Yet, we must be careful not to overlook or undervalue this word… Father.
What is the job of a father? It is to pick up a child after he/she has fallen and bandage up any scratches or scrapes. It is to run behind a child, tightly holding onto the seat of a bicycle as he/she learns to ride, to prevent any hard crash. It is to run ahead of his child, to step in front of any oncoming threat to his daughter or son. It is to care for and provide for his child, every need from food to clothing to home. It is to cheer for them the loudest during every great accomplishment. And to be just as devout and supportive when a child feels the pain of loss and defeat. It is to pick up his exhausted son or daughter when the physical demands or the
emotional tolls of life are too much for them to handle. It is to provide council and guidance with no hint of anger or disappointment. The job of the father is to provide one of the most intimate and safest relationships that a child will ever be a part of—where they will never be turned away. It is to provide a refuge, a safe place. Even in corrective discipline, in tender rebuke, or when at fault, the son or daughter will always find unconditional love and compassion in his/her father’s arms.
Hopefully these pictures bring to mind a good memory from your own past. To be sure, this is not the type of earthly father every one of us have experienced. But this was the design and intention of God when He told the first parents to “be fruitful and multiply.” Parents are to pattern their love towards children, as God loves each of us. “God the Almighty… God the Creator… He is our Father.” This is a beautiful message; it is one we need to slow down to hear, and take to heart.
Only 45 days until Christmas. You read that right. Which means the hustle and bustle of a holiday, that has been overtaken and commercialized, is soon about to consume our world and probably cause a few moments of stress to us all. Of course, in all honesty, many of us were feeling overwhelmed even before the yuletide countdowns began. We now the holiday season is pending, but we’re already maxed out. Life. Parenting. Cancer. Covid. Finances. Aging Parents. Unemployment. These and many others are the overwhelming tactics that the devil successfully uses to engulf us with so many crippling emotions that leave us frustrated and distant towards our Heavenly Father. But it is in these precise moments that we remember, that the great and powerful and almighty Creator all things… sincerely and intimately desires for us to call out to Him.
“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” (Psalm 50:15)
“Call to me and I will answer you, I will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Did you hear that? Your Divine Daddy wants you to trust in Him and jump into His arms. Rest in Him. Find peace knowing that He goes before you, walks beside you, and follows behind you to scoop you up anytime you fall. As Martin Luther teaches in the Small Catechism, regarding the meaning of that 1st article: “He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.”