One of our sons had a potentially deadly car accident last week. After a long night of work, sleep deprived, and suffering a bad head cold, he found himself facing off with a semi-truck – an “eighteen wheeler.” The truck flipped and exploded and his small car was totaled, but mercifully no one was significantly injured. My son tore some ligaments in his ankle and will be in a type of cast for a little while – minor under the circumstances.
I only mentioned it to a few people for various reasons. First, everyone was fine, and I was respecting my son’s privacy. There was no fault or wrongdoing, it just happened. My other hesitation in telling others, was because of the common response when you share a story with a happy ending,
“God is faithful.”
Yes, God is faithful, God is just, God is merciful, God is kind, God is long-suffering, God is patient, God is compassionate, God is love, God is…
And if my son had been more seriously injured or killed, God would still be all of the above and more.
To claim the faithfulness of God only in reference to happy endings, good times, and “blessings,” is to deny His very nature. It is a very American God. God is love. (I John 4:8,16) He is always love.
He doesn’t cease to be love in the face of suffering. He is not un – faithful in face of loss or devastation.
God was merciful last week, He was present, and He was not caught unaware, but humans make choices, make mistakes, suffer illness – humans are humans and good things and bad things happen in life.
God was faithful when our beloved son’s life was spared last week and God was faithful when our beloved son died in 1990. Two sons with two different results, one God with eternal purpose.
God is faithful – at all times, in all situations.
I spoke with a friend recently who lost a nephew in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. We briefly touched on the pictures and statements that float around the internet bestowing the faithful and miraculous intervention of God to save lives on September 11th. What about the thousands who died? I have to agree – once again it claims God’s present faithfulness in the miraculous of saving lives but his absence in hardship. ( God in suffering )
God resides in suffering as much as in joy. I believe, He is even more present when we need Him the most – even more “faithful.” We may not feel it, we may not want to think about it, we may want to curse God and die, but He is still faithful towards us.
The faithfulness of God is a prevailing theme in the bible, one that is far too extensive to cover in a blog post. The Psalms are filled with the faithfulness of God as a source of hope and encouragement after dark times with a, “but will I trust in you.” David lamented through the faithfulness of God continuously.
In the book of Lamentations, after the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah spoke about God’s faithfulness to restore. (The definition of lament is a passionate response to grief or sorrow.) Even though the destruction had been prophesied and promised due to their disobedience, the covenant of God’s faithfulness was sufficient for Jeremiah to encourage hope in the people of Israel.
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
But we have Christ so all of the promises of God are yes and amen in Him, right?
Yes! The promise is that He will be present with us in all of our suffering, and hardship, and blessings, and goodness – all things. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:39) He was with Paul in prison, exiled, and put to death. He was with Stephen stoned. He was with the Saints in the upper room.
When we proclaim the faithfulness of God in reference to deliverance only, we expunge hope in the Good News as life changing and life sustaining.
It is easy to believe in a God who will reward us with all good things, but necessary to know the God who sustains us through all things.
God is faithful. He can’t be otherwise.