Monday, September 14, 2015

Apostles' Creed: Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth

The Creed is quite sparse in its comments on the Father. This is all it says:

I believe in God, the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

Though sparse, it is quite helpful. Of all the things that the Creed could have focused on when it comes to the Father, it zeros in on His power. He's almighty. The existence of heaven and earth which He created is the proof.

So, how is this helpful? Well, think about it. Who am I talking about? I'm talking about the Father. But He's not just the Father. He's my Father. And because He is my Father, He loves me. He loves me as someone who is almighty. And that means that there is nothing that can thwart Him when it comes to loving me. Nothing. That is a tremendously powerful basis for hope.

It's here that there will be those who will reply something like, 'But it doesn't feel like I'm being loved. Actually, there are times when it feels like His love actually is being thwarted. There are times when life hurts - a lot. So, where's this almighty love.'

This is where it's good to remember some things that Jesus and His apostles taught us. He (and they) told us that being one of His disciples was going to hurt. We were warned. Suffering is part of being a Christian. So, does that undo all that I said about how nothing can thwart the love of the almighty Father? Absolutely not. Our suffering is not some impossibly strong wall that the Father's love can't get past. Quite the opposite. Our suffering is an expression of His love. And that will make sense as long as you understand that love is all about bringing about good for the beloved. Sometimes making that happen will hurt.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12

The Father wants us to thoroughly enjoy 'the peaceful fruit of righteousness'. And sometimes the route to that experience that includes painful discipline. There are times when that discipline might be about correcting us. But there are also times when we've done nothing wrong, but the Father wants us to learn some important lesson. Sometimes we learn these lessons through His loving (yes, loving!) discipline.

So, even the hard parts of life do not thwart the love of the Father for us. They are, rather, means by which we will be able to experience more of that fatherly care.

So, in those times that I'm struggling with my loneliness or some other problem, I find myself praying, 'I still trust You'. That comes from my being convinced that the Father loves me and there is nothing that can thwart His love. Nothing. And being convinced of that has proven to be the difference for me.

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