One of the casualties of being a theologian and well, me, is that I have a slight tendency to over think things.
And as I’ve walked through the strange path of grief, I’ve over thought everything – and none more so than my faith.
Everything I believed came under the microscope – I’d worked out my theology of suffering – or so I thought, but all of a sudden the old answers didn’t seem to touch the sides.
The hope and redemption that a future story might bring felt futile.
I was tying myself in knots as I attempted to unravel years of theology based on the power of redemption.
Don’t get my wrong – redemption is powerful – but somewhere along the way I’d begun to trust more in the power of redemption than the power of the redeemer.
And so I went back to basics, to the roots of my faith dug in my earliest years.
The night I became a christian, we sang a song called ‘Safe in the Father’s Hands’ and its first verse goes like this:
Safe in the Father’s hands
We are safe in the Father’s hands
Though there may be things
We don’t understand
We’re safe in the Father’s hands
I had trusted in the safety of the Father’s arms since I was five years old and it was one of the reasons I had said yes to Him over and again in the years that have passed since then.
As the long forgotten words settled in my mind, I realised that I cannot dismiss twenty-seven years where I’ve trusted in the safety of the Fathers loving hands.
To trust God, was to trust in His inescapable, unquenchable love for me.
And so I found myself answering the question that Jesus posed to Simon Peter one morning after a boat trip:
“Do you love me?”
The question made me realise that it was what I had forgotten over the past months; the love I have for God and the love God has for me.
It went back to the very first hour I believed and although there have been many questions over the years about His plans, His will, I have never questioned His love for me.
And that hasn’t changed. I remain believing in the words of Paul in Romans 8:38-39.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can separate us from the love of God; and to love God is the first and greatest commandment.
It is the first thing I believed, it is the belief that has carried me thus far and it is the belief that will carry me through the rest of my days.