Tuesday, April 12, 2011

God Is Still Faithful

A couple of weeks ago brought some highs and lows for our family.

First, a major high point.  Monday that week marked our son’s third birthday.  We continue to be blessed by the amazing gift that God has given us in Luke.  Like every child he has his rough moments, but overall he is the sweetest, funniest, cutest little guy I know—and shouldn’t every dad say that!  But I think it’s true.  We had both sets of grandparents in town as well as two of his aunts, and other dear friends from out of town as well. 

We were expecting to close on the sale of our house on his birthday.  We didn’t plan it that way, but that was how the timing fell out.  However, in the height of our joy with his birthday weekend celebration, we got word on Friday afternoon that there was a problem with the sale due to a fence encroachment issue that neither we nor our neighbors knew about.  So we didn’t close on Monday.  In fact, a lot of the weekend and Monday and Tuesday were filled with a flurry of emails and calls and legal agreements and rewritten agreements and on.  It was a little struggle, and a little stressful for a bit.

Then on that same Monday, we received an email that the 34-year-old husband of one of Amy’s oldest and dearest friends had gone into cardiac arrest, that they had revived his heart, but that he was in CCU without any real idea of what had gone wrong.  At first, their family thought that he would not make it—he had even said his goodbye to her.  Amy and I love this family dearly, so this whole episode struck us deeply, and she prepared plans to drive the five-plus hours to see them and help in any way she could.

Throughout these events and others like them, our trust in God’s goodness and providence doesn’t waver—but we sure don’t always understand it.  In the midst of back-to-back types of difficulties, sometimes people offer words of encouragement like: “God is faithful—He’s going to sell that house for you, I just know it.” Or, “God is faithful—I just know He’s going to pull your friend through.”  Although extremely well intentioned, ideas like these miss the mark on God’s faithfulness.

Even if God doesn’t sell your house, He is still faithful.  Even if God doesn’t heal your friend, He is still faithful.  Even if God doesn’t spare your life, He is still faithful.

God’s word is clear about who He is and what He does.  God makes promises, and then keeps His promises.  His faithfulness is often described in terms of promise and fulfillment.  In fact, the entire Bible has been aptly summarized as promises made (Old Testament) and promises kept (New Testament).  Here are four quick reminders about the faithfulness of God.

1. God’s faithfulness is shown as essential in His character.

The Bible teaches from cover to cover that He is faithful, both in spite of and because of our circumstances.  Simply put, it says God is not like us—He is faithful:

God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind.  Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?  (Exodus 23.19, HCSB)

2. God’s faithfulness is shown by example in His consistency.

Even when we waver through unbelief, God is proved to be true.  Our periodic unbelief marks us as “liars” contrasted against the backdrop of God’s faithfulness:

What then?  If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness?  Absolutely not!  God must be true, but everyone is a liar…  (Romans 3.3-4, HCSB)

3. God’s faithfulness is shown by pattern to be constant.

Not only is He consistent in each instance, but He is described as constantly faithful.  He remains faithful:

This saying is trustworthy:
For if we have died with Him, we will also live with Him;
if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
if we deny Him, He will also deny us;
if we are faithless, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.
  (2 Timothy 2.11-13, HCSB)

4. God’s faithfulness is shown as redemptive through His plan’s completion.

What we humans often lose sight of in our problems is that, for those who call upon the name of the Lord, we will ultimately have victory in Jesus.  God does care about our relationships, health, and provisions.  But regardless of our money or health or relationships, His faithfulness will complete His redemptive plan and will bring us into His presence—the greatest gift of all:

And we ourselves proclaim to you the good news of the promise that was made to our forefathers.  God has fulfilled this to us their children by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” …Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you…  (Acts 13.32-33, 38, HCSB)

In God’s great providence, our house sold two days later, and our friend was diagnosed three days later not with a heart problem, but with a nerve problem that has been treated with a pacemaker.  God is good, and He is faithful.  But He would still be faithful if these things hadn’t turned out the way we hoped.

It’s reassuring to know that, regardless of what we think about our circumstances, God is still faithful.