We have a lot of verses etched on our Bible cover cases reminding us of God’s faithfulness – but what does it really mean?
Few people believe that God isn’t faithful – in a world full of uncertainty and chaos and flakey people it is comforting that God is faithful. It’s the one solid rock we have. Jobs end, friends move, football only goes til January, and even beliefs change – but God is faithful all along.
I think there is another side to the story. Philip Yancey (you may be surprised to discover he’s my favorite author, not Rob Bell) explores the absecence of God frequently in his writings. God is in some ways hidden and removed from us*. Not only that, almost every Christian acknowledges a “season” where we seem to be in the desert and where God withdraws himself to escape further into hiding. And sometimes, when we are alone in our pain and crying out, God’s silence isn’t broken.
God’s moves are covert. So covert that many don’t see them at all and deny him to their deathbed. Some who don’t even know him may ask for him the best the know how to no avail (you’d think he’d jump at the chance).
And sometimes God leads us into the pits of hell and into deep personal suffering (when you ask? It’s called the New Testament). You’d think that since we’re becoming God’s followers he’d take sparkling good care of us – yet being a Christian is actually about taking up a cross and going into the darkest places of our world. God uses fire. And sometimes people don’t come out alive.
So what does it mean that God is faithful?
Even if God puts us through terrible times for our benefit, going through hell sucks. And being silent when we need him to close, when we need comfort, well it makes the pain all the more searing.
So to the question Is God faithful? yes and no could be an answer. His love, without question, never ceases and his arms are never folded so as to not receive you. But maybe our cute ideas about God are a little more complex – for ours is a mysterious, maybe even elusive God.
We may speak of God being faithful but that doesn’t mean he is constantly serving us soup when we’re cold and sick. God’s love remains strong and unshaken, though God sometimes prolongs his action and rescue and comfort. And that is not as cute as God’s faithfulness, but just as true.
Thanks to Bill for writing his own post that inspired this one (though note I was the one who took it to dark side).
*David will no doubt have something to say about this, but I think the point still stands.