I’ve been thinking a lot about faithfulness lately. Perhaps it is because the ugliness of UN-faithfulness has pervaded the lives of my friends recently and I have witnessed her deadly deception and greed. Those unfaithful paws have also clawed into me and mine over the years, leaving behind wounds and scars.
We don’t have to look far in our world to see before us images of unfaithfulness do we? But images of faithfulness are also right before our eyes if we know where to look…
On a daily basis the sun faithfully rises. Our gorgeous Golden Retriever faithfully greets us each morning with affection and the tax bill faithfully comes each year! Perhaps we can classify this kind of faithfulness as ‘law of nature’.
But there is a deeper kind of faithfulness I want to take a few minutes to delve into right now. Faithfulness that proves the authenticity of true, unconditional, sacrificial love. Faithfulness that flows from hearts that have made covenants, commitments, vows, pledges and promises with intentional plans to see them through – no matter what.
My parents have shown this kind of faithfulness to me to me over the course of my life. I also have the privilege to live with a man who chooses to faithfully love me and meet my needs above his own. I am also honored to belong to a group of women who faithfully support me as I endeavour to BE Faithful and do the same for them.
But human faithfulness has its limits. Sometimes circumstances prevent us from fulfilling our well-intentioned vows. Sometimes we get enticed away from remaining faithful to covenantal promises. At times we are just plain lazy, let our guard down and end up unintentionally wounding the people we love most in the world.
I believe that while humans can be faithful to a point, there is a deeper source of faithfulness that we need to tap into to in order to truly BE Faithful to each other and to God through all kinds of trials and temptations.
18 years ago, an Aussie family set off on an adventure. Years earlier they had encountered Jesus Christ and been transformed by His Word translated into their own heart language. But to their dismay, they heard of the thousands of minority people groups around the globe who do not have this privilege. So before God, they made a commitment to partner with Him to address this injustice. After years of training, preparation and gathering a support team around them, the time came for the Coombe family to leave the comforts of home and the tangible presence of family and friends. They packed their basic needs, crossed the oceans, learned two foreign languages, survived in primitive conditions and barely lived through several severe illnesses – all of this eventuated in just the first few months!
On 1 May, 2016, I beheld the fruit of faithfulness and it is an image that will stay with me forever. The Gela New Testament was finally completed and dedicated to God for His glorious purposes. After all the years of faithful service from the Coombes and the local translators – along with the faithful support of many – the Gela of the Solomon Islands finally have the same opportunity we do… to read God’s Word in their mother tongue. The opportunity for transformation is a reality in their hands and we rejoice!
Yes, I was an eyewitness to the magnificent celebrations, but I also caught a glimpse of the cost that lies behind scenes.
Just like their Lord before them, this family has faced rejection, misunderstanding, betrayal, abuse, mocking, and loneliness, physical and emotional trauma – just to name a few heartaches. This is the same family that recently had to say goodbye to baby Gabriel, before they could say a proper hello (see previous blog ‘BE Born!’).
This simple tribute I muse on today cannot possibly convey the long list of troubles and strife this precious family have encountered along the journey – and it is not over yet. The commitment they made to the Gela people was so help facilitate the translation of the entire Bible – and that will still be some years away.
How will they manage to continue to BE Faithful after all they have already endured? Indeed, how will we all?
The Apostle Paul went through all manner of severe trial as a missionary and minister of the Gospel of Jesus. He learned the secret of faithfulness and so can we….
“The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it!” 1 Thess. 5:24
But how does He do it? One of God’s names is ‘Faithful’. El HaNe’eman = The Faithful God (Deuteronomy 7:9). Faithfulness not only describes what God does, but defines who He is. The kind of faithfulness we require to remain loyal, fruitful servants of God and keep the commitments we have made to each other goes way beyond and own abilities and the laws of nature. Paul tells us that in order to BE Faithful, we have to tap into the ‘Wellspring of Life’ Himself! Yes friends, we need a good dose of God’s Holy Spirit within us to BE Faithful…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law! Gal. 5:22-23
Need a little, or a mountain load of faithfulness right now? I leave you with this vision of faithfulness from Revelation 19… drink it in, feast on it and allow it to transform you to BE Faithful!
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
A couple of songs to inspire you:
‘Faithful’ by Laura Story
‘You are Faithful’ By Stephen Curtis Chapman