When good things happen I often hear, ‘God is so faithful, isn’t He?’ I often wonder if the circumstance had turned out badly would I hear, ‘God is so faithful, isn’t He?’
It seems that the last ten years of my life have been a roller coaster of what we human beings call good and bad. New life, death, disease, healing, troubled relationships, forgiveness, excruciatingly slow sanctification. What I am learning practically, though I have long understood positionally and theologically, is that through all of it, God has remained faithful, true to His Word. Through the cancer diagnosis and viciously disabling treatments, through the healing, through the joy of two daughters’-in-law pregnancies and precious babies born, through miscarriages and premature, non-viable births, to sons and their wives weeping at their losses, to a little boy born with club feet, multiple castings and surgeries and pain for a grandson, to the death of a godly and loving father, to the decline of a mother and best friend…Yet, I can say with all confidence, without bravado, He is faithful.
God is not just faithful when all goes well. God remains faithful when the anguish is so intense that breathing is labored. God remains faithful when all earthly hope is gone. God remains faithful when a heart is filled with immobilizing fear. God is faithful when the days are dark, storm clouds weigh heavy in the skies, waves are crashing all around threatening to overwhelm and drown.
God’s faithfulness is not dependent on the circumstances in our lives. He is faithful to His own character, Who He is. And we know Who He is from His Word. He is faithful to save for all eternity those whom He has chosen. He is faithful to forgive them because He said He would. He is faithful to complete the work He has begun in us because He promised to do so. He is faithful to never leave us or forsake us when the loved one is not healed in spite of our pleadings. He made Himself known when babies were born imperfect in the world’s eyes. He was there when little ones died. He was present at the graveside as they lowered the tiny box into the grave and I watched my son, with his own hands, shovel clods of dirt over their dream. Ashes to ashes…
Dear sister, God does not promise to make our lives trouble free. Had He done so, they would indeed be trouble free. He promised they would be difficult and filled with fiery trials and temptations. He has promised that He will chasten us for our presumptuous sins so that we will repent more quickly and deeply. He put us in this messy, chaotic, trouble-filled life to save us and sanctify us slowly but surely–and in the pain-filled process, gradually peel our hearts and eyes away from this world and its baubles and troubles and fix our longings on our heavenly home where all things will fully and finally be trouble-free. We would never crave the new heaven and earth if we were not weary of the old. We would never learn to love our God and find Him most satisfying above all people or things or places if we did not endure the dissatisfaction and emptiness of grasping and acquiring and fading, short-lived happinesses.
His faithfulness is based on who He is, not what we want Him to be or do. And we will never know Who He is unless we immerse ourselves in His Word so that He can tell us Who He is. When we live and breathe and exude Christ we will, with deep-seated joy in our souls, say, “He is faithful!”, though the tears are streaming down our faces.
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul.” Psalm 66: 16
Cling, dear Sister. Cling to our always faithful God.