by Rich Maffeo
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
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 scoff 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 convinced He's the same God of the now - or the future.
What nonsense. If you remember the text in Judges, Gideon - and three hundred men armed with nothing more than clay pots, torches, and their faith - won a miraculous victory for Israel.
What do we call our Midianites? Illness? Unemployment? Divorce? 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).
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, "We believe in the Father Almighty," can be an immovable rock and a shout 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 error. 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.
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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