If 2021 Is Worse Than 2020, Is God Still Faithful?
You got the job!? God is so faithful!
You're pregnant!? God is so faithful!
You were healed!? God is so faithful!
You got the house!? God is so faithful!
I have a habit of using the "God is so faithful" phrase in response to loved ones sharing the news that circumstances have worked out in their favor. At first glance, this phrase is innocent enough. After all, God IS faithful. The problem, however, is that we quickly start to define God's faithfulness by His willingness to make things work out in our favor. We probably don't blatantly say this to be true but rather deep down we start to make a connection.
But if God's faithfulness is dependent on circumstances, what is He to the people who lost loved ones this year? Was he not faithful to the mother who lost her child? What about the family that was evicted? If I turn to my friend on the left and respond, "God is so faithful because you didn't lose anyone to COVID!" What do I say to my friend on the right who lost 3 family members?
"God is so faithful because he saw me through 2020!" But is He faithful if I don't survive 2021? What if more disasters occur, more violence breaks out, more racial injustices come to light, COVID or a new virus claims thousands of more lives, or my world crumbles around me?
I think it would serve us well to be less quick with, "God is so faithful" and see what the Bible is really trying to teach about God's faithfulness.
God is FAITHFUL to LOVE
"...He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments." -Deuteronomy 7:9 God's love for us endures forever and nothing can separate us from it. NOTHING. God is so faithful!
God is FAITHFUL to FORGIVE
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all righteousness." -1 John 1:9 As someone who screws up DAILY, I am so thankful that God promises to forgive me no matter what! He is so faithful!
God is FAITHFUL to Redeem
"God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." -1 Corinthians 1:9 From the very moment we rebelled, God put a plan into action to redeem us back to Him! He made good on his promise to redeem us by sending Jesus! It's through Jesus' sacrifice and the sending of the Holy Spirit that He continues to make all things new! NOTHING can thwart God's plan of restoring His creation for eternity! God is so faithful!
God is FAITHFUL to Be With Us
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b In Christ, we are never alone. God's spirit dwells within us and gives us strength, joy, and peace, even when circumstances suggest we shouldn't. We receive peace that passes all understanding because God is so faithful!
God is FAITHFUL when we are FAITHLESS
"If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself." -2 Timothy 2:13 This is good news my friends! When we struggle to "keep the faith", when we feel far from God, or perhaps even question His existence, God never waivers! God is so faithful!
God's faithfulness extends far beyond our day to day circumstances. God has been loving, forgiving, and redeeming His people since creation and He won't stop because this is His plan..."Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.' Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'" Revelation 21:1-5 Amen!
So it's not so much that saying "God is so faithful" in response to good news is wrong. It just misses the much higher, wider, and deeper truth of God's faithfulness!
God was faithful in the garden as creation fell. God was faithful when Jesus hung on a cross. God was faithful in 2020. God will be faithful in 2021 and He will be faithful every single year that follows. He is faithful to the homeless man living in the woods. He is faithful to the addict selling herself for drugs. He is faithful to the single parent struggling to make ends meat. He is faithful to the millionaire with 5 houses. He is faithful to the people living in the slums of Kenya. He is faithful to the children being trafficked across the world. We can say these things with confidence because His faithfulness isn't dependent on circumstances.
There are countless stories told of God's faithfulness from Christ followers living in horrific conditions and through unfathomable tragedies. I have sat along side people just in the last year that have endured unspeakable pain but yet proclaimed God's faithfulness in their lives. How is this possible?
Perhaps it's because they understand this truth...
God is faithful because His love never fails, His forgiveness never ends, His presence never leaves, and His redemption plan promises an eternal glory with Him forever and ever! AMEN!
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18