Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
by Daniel Ng
Trudging high mountains to the valleys, dark below,
Where breath grows thin and courage flees to cold,
Draw warmly then to our sweet Lord, beware to lose Him not,
Grasp that hand with sure faith!
He will loosen life’s Gordian knots.
We often make God too small; we put Him in a box, nice and neat, with certain definitions and parameters that conform to our theology, rather than allowing Him to transform us. Because of our finite humanness, cannot have all the answers. It is not about us having all the answers.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are my ways higher than your ways
And my thoughts higher than your thoughts”.
We are restricted and limited by time. Our present is momentary. God is not. He is in the past, present and the future. We cannot wrap our minds around that. It is beyond our ability to comprehend. God is unknowable, unsearchable, unfathomable. Rightfully so.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Ah, but trust is difficult for all of us at times.
On Ash Wednesday, our sermon was all about handing our worry over to Jesus. It was about not hanging onto worry, because in doing so, we sin; we sin by communicating to Jesus that we don’t think he is worthy of our trust and faith in Him. So worry not only sucks us into darkness by throwing us into anxiety and depression. It removes us from our Lord by denying Him, just as Peter did. The good news is that He forgives and redeems; He welcomes our regret and return. Oh, how He loves us.
Many of us, in proclaiming our faith, use our own personal transformation as a testimony to our faithfulness, our steadfast belief in God’s work in our lives. We know, without a shred of uncertainty, that God exists, because Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, has laid claim to our hearts. He has shifted our thinking, our willingness to be vulnerable, our commitment to leading honest lives based on love. He has caused an internal and permanent tectonic plate shift; we have been humbled, and we thankfully praise him for that. We know he is with us because we know that except for His grace, we would not be in this place.
Yet, just like Abraham, we try to ‘help God along” by finding ways to push His plan forward, widening the path, jack-hammering road blocks, rushing to achieve God’s promises in our own time. Abraham lied to the Egyptian pharaoh about his relationship with Sarah, endangering both of their lives. Later, he used his servant Hagar to produce a son, even though God had a plan for both Abraham and Sarah in His own time and His own way.
God is in the driver’s seat in this lifelong journey, yet so many times I have tried to shove Him aside to grab the steering wheel. Even though He has made it clear to me where we are going, I still insist on control, still insist on navigating, still insist on wanting Him to be the passenger. How incredibly arrogant and unappreciative am I when I forget that He is the One who has developed the plan, negotiated the terrain, determined the strategy and knows the destination!
Like an obstacle course on a long, narrow and windy road, with a steep cliff on one side and a sheer mountain face on the other, God’s plan can appear arduous and stressful; it can seem like it takes too long when I think I know a shortcut.
Waiting on God takes delighting in Him; it takes being patient and yes, long suffering. It takes trusting with all your heart; it takes understanding that whatever He has planned for you will be beyond your imagination and expectations.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
That is faithfulness.
We have also experienced God’s faithfulness. Yes, we have read about it in the Bible.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease.
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning.
Great is His faithfulness.
Aside from knowing about God’s faithfulness, many of us have also been blessed by His faithfulness in our own lives. God’s faithfulness is particularly evident when we choose to walk toward him instead of away from him in those circumstances that evoke fear, grief, anger or doubt. And it is in these circumstances – in our weakest moments – that God shows His strength. That God lifts us up. That God embraces us and comforts us when we allow Him to.
We receive wisdom or provision or help with a problem we’ve been grappling with for months or even years; we know the solution didn’t generate with us, but came from an unexpected or inexplicable source. We receive strength to turn from bitterness or addiction or stubbornness after years of holding onto to harmful habits; we know it is not within our nature or power to do so on our own. We receive peace or comfort beyond our understanding, as though we truly have been made to lie down in green pastures, led beside still waters, and had our soul completely restored.
How else can we explain the faithfulness of God who extends us love without condition; grace when we have done nothing to merit it; mercy when we do not deserve it at all?
I pray that in faith, as our poet Daniel writes, you “draw warmly to our sweet Lord” who is ever faithful, who reaches out, who will meet you where you are. Let him have your fear, your grief, your anger, your doubt. He will give you love, grace, mercy and forgiveness in return for your honesty. He will surround you and uphold you; He will loosen the knot in your heart.
Gordian Knots copyright 2014 Daniel P.-K. Ng
Daniel writes soul searching poetry that glorifies God’s love and creation. His photographic images enhance his poetry (or maybe it’s the other way around). If one picture can tell a thousand words, his few lines of poetry can tell a lifetime.
This post can also be seen on Susan Irene Fox, http://susanirenefox.com/2014/03/28/fruit-of-the-spirit-faithfulness/
Posted on March 29, 2014, in thoughts and tagged Abraham, christianity, comfort, Daniel Ng, faith, faithfulness, God, Grace, Heart, Holy Spirit, Jesus, knots, Lord, love, mercy, mindseat, strength, Susan Irene Fox, thoughts, transform, transformation, unconditional, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.