by Rich Maffeo
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
[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).
Fifty 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 five-year-old mind tried to absorb Mom's words that somber day in 1955, 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 favorite tie, 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 immoralities, fights 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."
"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty."
There are times no other words speak more powerfully to my emotions - 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 our memory, of one thing we can be certain: Calvary 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.
These meditations are compiled in Richard Maffeo's book, "We Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed." The book is available through bookstores and his website
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