When God’s faithfulness comes up, are trust issues provoked in your soul?
The Bible clearly teaches that because God is…
- All Powerful, He is strong enough to carry out every promise
- Totally Truthful, He can never lie about a promise
- Unchanging, His promises are the same yesterday, today and forever
- Everywhere at once, He is perfectly capable of fulfilling His promises for everyone everywhere
Faithfulness radiates from a place that is firmly established with endurance. Faithfulness is unchanging – never wavering. It is a foundation that can be safely built upon with no concern for changes in the future. Faithfulness is a sure deal.The Bible Project
God is the only ONE who is perfectly capable and committed to fulfilling every single one of His promises!
So, why do we have trust issues with God’s faithfulness?
We’re approaching Thanksgiving, a wonderful time to speak of God’s faithfulness. On this holiday, our family enjoys a tradition we call the Three Corn Pieces. We do this for two reasons.
First, the Pilgrims at the first thanksgiving feast served wild turkey and corn. “Edward Winslow, one of the founders of Plymouth Colony, wrote that the spring before Thanksgiving, the settlers planted 20 acres of Indian corn (also known as flint corn). The abundant crop was served for the very first time that fall, for Thanksgiving.” (Mackenzie Frazer)
The second reason for sharing the Three Corn Pieces is so that we each of us have an opportunity to give thanks for God’s faithfulness also. Each person is given three corn pieces at their place setting. When all are seated, a saucer is passed around the table. As each person mentions something they’re thankful for, a piece of corn is dropped on the saucer and it’s passed to the next person. When all have had three chances, the host offers a prayer of thanksgiving over the meal.
It’s not unusual that in these family gatherings or moments with friends some might not be ready to enter enthusiastically into the practice of the Three Corn Pieces. They may struggle to come up with anything that sounds good enough to say. And, more importantly, they may choke on the idea of God’s faithfulness.
It’s true, speaking of God’s faithfulness can provoke trust issues underneath the veneer of our songs and words.
Given what we’re going through, we wonder how we can truthfully claim that God is faithful to His promises to us? Given how many times we’ve been lied to, we wonder how we can ever trust someone 100%? Given our bent to wander from His path, we wonder why would God or should He ever be faithful to me?
It’s no surprise that thinking of God being fully faithful should provoke inner turmoil and raise trust issues. However, I’m here to tell you it’s possible to resolve those issues if three things are embraced:
- Given what I’m going through I can fully trust God’s faithfulness if I measure it by WHO he is, not by what I can understand.
- Trusting God 100% with anything will mean that we walk with him through time and trouble, testing thick and thin. There are no shortcuts.
- Trusting that God will be faithful to us who have been so unfaithful at times must be learned in a relationship of love that endures over time and takes us into the age to come – His everlasting love for each of us.
Resolving trust Issue #1
Given what I’m going through I can fully trust God’s faithfulness if I measure it by WHO he is, not by what I can understand.
There are two perspectives on God’s faithfulness that we anchor our trust in: (1) His faithfulness to who He is in His person, and (2) His faithfulness to His promises in relationship to us, His children. It’s the first of these two that we MUST consider, if we hope to resolve our first trust issue.
Is God’s faithfulness to be judged by his faithfulness to me, or his faithfulness to himself?
Can we trust him to always be god and act like god (not like us) in every situation?
During our time in Champaign, Illinois, while church-planting there, Julia and I experienced times of colossal stress. At one point we escaped to Chicago because some Navy ships were going to be docking there and on display to the public. Of particular interest to me was a Navy Cruiser.
But I had growing anger toward God in those days, and it caught up with me walking on the dock beside those big ships. I began to pour out a bitter complaint about how God was not supplying our needs and giving us the vision and strength we needed to move the work ahead. I complained that I felt short-changed, and I couldn’t believe he was 100% faithful as the Scriptures proclaimed him to be.
Julia took my hand, stopped me and said just a few words that changed everything for me about God’s faithfulness. She said,
“Are you going to take God at his word or is your experience going to be your measure of the truth?”
We continued to walk and talk. And by the time we headed home, I had come to clearly see again how my experience was just a small portion of everything God was doing.
Looking back, I realize that something else far more important was changing in my heart. Perhaps for the first time in my life, there on that dock in Chicago, I saw clearly the God’s faithfulness could never be measured by me. It could only be measured by him. How little I knew at that time how important this would be years later when literally every breath taken in my home rested on his faithfulness to us.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.2 Timothy 2:8-13 ESV
To say God is FULL of trustworthiness doesn’t just mean that God tells the truth or stands for truth. It means that He Himself is trustworthy!
God’s faithfulness is so much a part of who He is that He cannot become unfaithful to anyone.Bill Bright, Discover God
He will be everything He has promised to be. He will do everything He has promised to do. We can take Him at His word because of WHO He is.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”Isaiah 55:10-11 RSV
Scripture speaks often of God’s faithfulness as a basis for trusting HIM 100% of the time. But how much do we actually do that? All of God’s promises are absolutely true but we have been lied to so often that we may not know who we can trust and this can spill into our relationship with God. We can easily assume a worst-case scenario, second guessing God. We have trust issues!
Resolving trust Issue #2
Trusting God 100% with anything will mean that we walk with him through time and trouble, through testing thick and thin. There are no shortcuts.
There are lots of reasons for our hesitancy to trust anyone 100%, let alone one we usually can’t feel, see or hear with our physical being. Media hype, cultural bias, cultural wars, political spin, scientific debate – it can get our head spinning. But, add to those the self-centeredness of our earthly lives, conscious suffering and grief, anger and conflict, how can we simply take God at His word?
“Broken promises [do] abound. You can probably think of a few that hurt you deeply. None of us are immune. They color our thinking and can easily spill over into our view of God.”
The realities of broken promises reflects the spiritual darkness cloaking our world and keeping us from trusting God implicitly.
Our ability to trust God takes a hit from all these things, but there’s an even deeper reason for our hesitancy to trust God 100% which may surprise you. It’s called “spiritual darkness,” the darkness our race fell into when Adam and Eve did NOT take God at His word but believed a lie. Jesus asked the Father to protect His disciples from the evil one, or the wicked one (John 17:15). He spoke of the wicked one who snatches away the word of the kingdom (Matthew 13:19) and that those who choke the growth of the sons of the kingdom are the sons of the wicked one (Matthew 13:38). There is no greater victory for Satan and his kingdom than the failure of God’s people to take God at His word 100% of the time.
So, how do we move in the direction of trusting God 100% of the time?
We embrace losses and difficulties as opportunities to faithfully witness to the fact that HE can be trusted, just like Jesus who did so on the eve of His death for us: “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matthew 26:38-39 ESV)
Following Jesus on His way to the cross, we too have the opportunity with our lives and words to faithfully witness to the fact that God will always vindicate His name as The Faithful God and fulfill His promises 100%. (See Revelation 12:9-12)
Another chapter from my journey of faith…
In January of 2013, I had been preparing for weeks to be with Christian brothers from North Africa, but I wasn’t happy with what I had prepared. I was being sent to meet with these brothers who had suffered severe persecution for their faith, and I wondered if what I had prepared would minister to them in any shape or form. I also had serious self-doubts about myself who had never faced such severe testing. After all, what did I have to share with these brothers who had suffered so much?
But God is faithful in using our loaves and fishes to accomplish his perfect, glorious will. Here’s a bit of the story…
Because of the delays I had in my flight to Africa and the changes that had to be made to my flight itinerary, I was stuck overnight in a Sheraton Hotel in Washington, DC. In this forced, unplanned, quiet time of rest and reflection, I remember falling on my knees before God that night and saying “Lord, before I get up in the morning, I need for you to give me what I can give my brothers in Africa.”
During that night of watching and waiting for God to answer my prayer he led me to hold in my mind and heart a singular idea: His faithfulness to be God in every situation we face. God spoke to my heart that what I was to take to them was a reminder of who God, our Father is, and how much he loved them with ALL that He is.
Arising in the morning, I took all the notes I had spread out before me on the bed, all those things I had prepared to share, and tucked them deep into my suitcase, believing I probably wouldn’t need them in Africa – but just in case… And then, I headed for the airport.
On that flight to Africa, I had yet another opportunity to see God’s faithfulness to His promises in action. He sat me next to a businesswoman who was obviously troubled about something. I don’t remember how the conversation opened, but I do know that she ended up sharing her heart with me about a troubled relationship with her husband. She was going home to see what she could make of a marriage and family to which her husband had been unfaithful. She shared that she was a believer in Christ but had wandered far from him herself. What a joy it was for me to speak with her on that flight, from DC to Atlanta, concerning the faithfulness of God our Father, even when we are unfaithful. She seemed renewed in the knowledge of how much God loved her, and how much she could depend upon him to see her through this trial.
If I had not had that night in DC due to circumstantial trouble, I would have missed so much. I would have gone to Africa depending upon my faithfulness to God’s word, not his faithfulness to his word. A troubled wife and mother would have gone home without the spiritual strengthening she needed to walk in the door of her home.
Resolving Trust Issue #3
Trusting that God will be faithful to us who have been so unfaithful at times must be learned in a relationship of LOVE that endures over time and takes us into the age to come – His everlasting love for each of us.
I treasure Julia’s last words to me – words like these:
David, you’re my rock. Thank you for being faithful to me in and through everything.
Why do I treasure these words? They come from one who was faithful to me. They come from one that I gave my heart and soul to, and from one who gave her heart and soul to me. They come after a lifetime of walking through thick and thin together. They come because of the deep, deep love embedded in those words. Those words mean nothing if not tested and true.
There’s only one answer to the question of why should God be faithful to me and it’s love – the fact that I am his, and he is mine.
Like the song says, “Loved with everlasting love, / Led by grace that love to know; / Spirit, breathing from above, / Thou hast taught me it is so. / Oh, this full and perfect peace! / Oh, this transport all divine! / In a love which cannot cease, / I am His, and He is mine.” 
Oh, for eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand this magnificent truth!
The faithfulness of God can only be learned in a relationship of love that endures over time and takes into age to come – His everlasting love for each of us. As we open our hearts to embrace this truth, the Holy Spirit works to open our eyes and ears and hearts to stand in this truth, walk in it, and overcome by it.
I hope that you’re trust issues with God’s faithfulness are being resolved. Let us speak freely of this over the corn and sing, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness!”
Verse 1 / Great is Thy faithfulness / O God my Father / There is no shadow / Of turning with Thee / Thou changest not / Thy compassions they fail not / As Thou hast been / Thou forever wilt be
 LOVED WITH EVERLASTING LOVE: Lyrics: George Wade Robinson (1838-1877) / Music: James Mountain (1844-1933) / Key: Eb Major / Time:3/2 / Meter:184.108.40.206.D.
 Jesus Calling, Oct. 17, p. 304