What woke you up this morning? You might think it was the alarm clock, but there’s really only one reason you were able to get out of bed today—because the Lord is faithful. Last night when you fell asleep, you gave up all control and drifted into unconsciousness. God was the one who kept your heart beating and filled your lungs with air while you rested. All night long, He watched over you and then opened your eyes so you could enjoy a new day.
If we’re honest, most of us would have to admit we don’t often think about God’s devotion to us, especially when it comes to the common activities of life. But consider what a difference it would make in our outlook if we focused on Him first thing in the morning and thanked Him for keeping us through the night. The words of Lamentations 3:22-23 would become a reality in our lives: “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Now, most of us have no problem remembering this when life is good and we can sense the Lord’s blessings. But what happens when they aren’t so apparent? Where is He when we’re walking through deep, dark valleys, and there’s no end in sight? Or what about those times when we feel distant from God and can’t sense His presence—when He isn’t answering our prayers, and it seems He doesn’t care? Maybe we’ve drifted into sin and think we don’t even deserve His blessings because, after all, we haven’t been faithful to Him.
First, we need to understand that God’s faithfulness isn’t based on our behavior or responses to Him (2 Timothy 2:13). In other words, He’s not more faithful when we are good or less so when we disobey Him. Second, our circumstances and emotions are an unreliable gauge: Difficulties and suffering do not mean the Lord has forgotten or abandoned us, and feeling distant from Him is not proof that He is far away. He remains true when we love Him and when we don’t, if we’re in need or have plenty, whether we’re aware of Him or not.
God’s faithfulness is not based on our behavior or responses to Him.
The problem is that we define faithfulness differently than our heavenly Father does. We want God to come through for us on our terms. We’d like to be immediately delivered from our troubles, healed of all illnesses, and freed from financial worry. But the Lord is committed to upholding His Word, not fulfilling our immediate wants and wishes.
For instance, if we’ve been rebellious, we can count on our loving Father to discipline us wisely and appropriately (Hebrews 12:6-7). When we experience trials, He promises to use them to produce endurance and proven character in our lives (James 1:2-4). If we’re under spiritual attack, God “will strengthen and protect [us] from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). In times of temptation, He promises to place limits upon it so we’re not overwhelmed and to provide a way of escape so we can endure (1 Corinthians 10:13). Whatever situation or season we experience, the Lord works in our lives according to His will.
God’s faithfulness is based on His nature. It’s one of His attributes. Although we don’t always understand what He’s doing or why He allows certain circumstances in our lives, we can always rely upon who He is. Four characteristics of God reassure us that He is trustworthy:
Immutability. The Lord’s faithfulness is constant because He never changes. He doesn’t treat us better in one situation than another, and His love for us never fluctuates. In contrast, our lives are filled with transitions, our plans are continually subject to adjustments, and our emotions make us feel as if we’re on a rollercoaster. We experience changing seasons, much the way nature does: There are periods of productivity, contentment, and good health—but they may quickly shift to seasons of financial need, despair, or debilitating illness. Through all of life’s many changes, we need the anchor of God’s unchanging faithfulness to encourage us.
Through all of life’s many changes, we need the anchor of God’s unchanging faithfulness to encourage us.
Omniscience. We also find assurance in the fact that the Lord knows everything from start to finish. He understands all details and facets of what we’re going through as well as the end results. He engineers each circumstance in our life to achieve His goals. And because He is faithful, we can know with certainty that He is working it all together for His glory and our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Omnipotence. God is all-powerful. We can rest assured that He is adequate to meet every need and control every circumstance—regardless of the season of life in which we find ourselves. Although He may not remove the obstacles and hardships, He promises to strengthen us to walk through them with confidence when we trust Him.
Omnipresence. The Lord is always with us, so we never travel alone through life. No matter how long or short the journey might be, He is there and will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). No matter how far we may run, we’re not beyond the reach of His love, mercy, and compassion.
What can we expect from God?
When we turn to God in the midst of our difficult seasons, His peace surrounds us, and His strength upholds us in our weakness. Knowing when a season is essential to our spiritual development, He will use it to transform us into people who reflect the image of His Son. In the process, we’ll discover that He is everything He promises to be.
When I injured myself last fall, I was reminded of how faithful the Lord is when His children hurt. At first, because of the intensity of the pain, I found it difficult to concentrate enough to pray or read my Bible. All I could do was simply lie there and say, “Lord, I’m just going to have to rest in Your all-sufficient, everlasting arms and trust You to take me through this.”
Although my season of pain was fairly short, some of you may have endured suffering or hardship awhile. It’s only natural to want to move on to good times, but what if you said, “Father, keep me in this season until You have completed Your perfect will and purpose”? With this act of submission, you will eventually begin to relax and experience peace in your heart instead of turmoil. Although the situation might not change, your attitude and feelings will. Whenever you decide to believe God is faithful and live according to that belief—even when life is challenging—your faith grows. You can rest well, knowing that He is always up to something good.
Adapted from the sermon “Encouragement for Every Season of Life” by Charles F. Stanley.