God has been teaching me about faithfulness. I have always been one who likes my reward immediately. Delayed gratification? No thank you. Mostly what I want is instant success and a whole lot of people telling me how wonderful I am. You know, like how people were with Jesus when He was on earth. Oh, wait.
I’ve come to realize that there are two kinds of faithfulness– God’s and mine– and that they both center around that root word faith.
God’s faithfulness means He is who He says He is and He does what He says He’ll do. He keeps promises. He is worthy of my faith. He is completely trustworthy in every way. Like most truths in my walk with God, this is easy to give mental assent to and a lot harder to actually believe and live by. Of course God keeps His promises, we think– and then our prayers aren’t answered how we expected or a tragedy happens or we wait and wait and wait for our needs to be met. And we panic or get angry or fall into worry or fear or doubt.
Our faith is so small. This does not change who our God is.
I have prayed so many times, Lord, I believe– help my unbelief! He patiently and mercifully teaches me who He is. What I need is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. What I need is more than a mental assent– “of course God keeps His promises.” I need real, solid faith.
I need to know that when God says He is loving, He is loving even when tragedy strikes my family and I am devastated. My faith in His love causes me to be faithful to Him– to live as though I am loved.
I need to know that when God says He forgives when I confess, that this is a promise I can cling to. I am forgiven once I have confessed my sins, and I need to live like that. I need to refuse shame and meditate on truth when Satan attacks my mind with His hateful reminders of my sin. I am forgiven, redeemed, set free. It cost Jesus everything. Who am I to cower before the lies of a defeated enemy?
I need to know that God favors me, that He delights in me, that He sees me as precious and is pleased with me. When no one else notices my hard work, my little victories, the sacrifices I am making– He sees. His approval is enough. I need to live like the most beloved child of the King of the universe, unafraid and unconcerned with whether anyone notices me or not.
Faithfulness in my life is not like God’s faithfulness, because it’s not based on my ability to keep my promises but on God’s ability to keep His. It’s really faith-filledness, and it is the only way to live this Christian life. The rewards are sweet, but most of them are as yet unseen.
As a mom, seeing my kids growing so fast and yet seeing their struggles and areas where they so need to grow, I need faith in God’s promises. I have to believe that when He says in due season you will reap, if you do not give up, that He is talking to me, that He will reward my labor to teach and disciple and train my children, that His due season may be different than mine but that does not make it any less real. I have to live with that fruit before my eyes. When I get discouraged or feel like my labor is in vain or wonder if there is a single person in all the world who has any idea what I’m dealing with in here (sometimes I get a little dramatic)– and this isn’t just with parenting, but with nearly every aspect of my life– I have to fix my eyes back on my faithful God, who does not ever fail, who is who He says He is.
Just like an athlete, who trains hard and eats right and makes sacrifices for his sport because he believes in an end result that he hasn’t attained yet, so we are called to work hard and do right and make sacrifices for our Savior, because we believe that the God who called us is faithful.
Let us not grow weary in doing good . . . He who called you is faithful . . . He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ . . . your labor is not in vain in the Lord . . . be steadfast, be vigilant . . . in due season you will reap, if you do not faint.
Oh Lord, teach us to keep pressing on, for You are faithful! We need nothing but You.