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Catechism Buzz: Quite a Character

07 April 2011 by David Regier

Q. 14. How doth God execute his decrees?

A. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.

I step out of my extended quiet time, that sweet hour of prayer, when the dew has just barely evaporated from the roses – O! joyous bliss! — back into the house where my beloved is up to her eyebrows in a steaming stew of screaming progeny. She asks where on earth I’ve been, and when I answer, “In the garden . . . alone . . .” her eyes suggest that I have somehow been remiss in tarrying there.

A gentle answer turneth away wrath, so I gently suggest that if perhaps she got up earlier to have her own quiet time, she might better display the peace that passeth understanding like I am right now, and is breakfast ready? At which point the bluebird on my shoulder springs aloft for safer environs.

It goes without saying that the aforementioned quiet time was filled with prayers that I would be attentive to my wife, a strong and loving father, a forgiving and blameless head of my household. These supplications were carried to the heavens on the waxy wings of sincere intentions. And yet, moments later, having flown too close to the sun, the wings melted, and they crashed on the thorny rosebush of regret. My intentions were not matched by my ability to carry them out in forethought and love.

It is the nature of the universe that word and action arises from character. We, having been once created in the image of God, demonstrate this image, even in our fallen state. We speak to our loved ones, do our work, and make our plans according to who we are. Our Lord spoke of good trees and good fruit, bad trees and bad fruit, words flowing from the abundance of the heart. He then, on the cross, secured our re-creation and the making of all things new.

This reconciliation has come to us by the decree of One whose character is unfathomably Good. Better than ours, not by degree, but in its very nature. His intentions cannot be thwarted, because they arise from exactly Who He is. To hold to this doctrine of God’s decrees, we must believe that He is incomparably, unchangeably, inexhaustibly good.