“My faith is in Jesus, the son of God, the savior of the world. My faith isn’t even in my ability to believe in Jesus, because sometimes I won’t be able to perceive him. Sometimes I won't be able to feel him. Sometimes I will have doubts. But my faith isn’t in any of that. My faith is in his faithfulness.”— Steven Furtick (Pastor of Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC)
While reading “Sun Stand Still,” by Steven Furtick, the words in the quote above grabbed my attention. In particular, the words, “his faithfulness.” Usually when I consider faith, it’s in the context of “my faith.” Which of course ebbs and flows on any given day. I have heard and read about “his faithfulness,” yet it wasn’t until today, reading Furtick’s words, that the concept shook me awake to pay attention.
Sometimes words can be like wallpaper; you may enter the room and not notice its color or pattern. After all, it is in the background. Then one day, you enter the same room with seeking eyes, and the room now appears brightly lit. The former ignored things, come into illumination, as you discover the rich texture and beauty that was always there.
Such for me are the words, “his faithfulness.”
Faithful means firm, lasting, reliable, trustworthy. God is all these things. He is truth, he is constant, he doesn’t cease to exist, nor does his faithfulness cease. We can lean on the Lord because He is faithful to His creation.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that it’s easier to have faith when everything is going my way, birds are chirping and the rainbows are illuminating the skies.
But what then for the rest of life’s moments?
How about when we endure prolonged pain, suffering, loneliness? In these moments our faith is stretched beyond the elastic properties of a rubber band. And in this space of disillusion and unfulfilled hopes and dreams, is usually where I lose it…or at least temporarily misplace my faith.
Could it be that often our faith is conditional, on having our expectations met? After all, scripture states, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7
I have thought that if I have strong enough faith, and asked for certain doors to open, that by virtue of my faith, those doors would fly open! But what I find often is that the specific doors I’m asking for, do not so much as crack open. Then I begin to lose heart, lose resolve, lose faith. I question my faith power level. It falls further when I doubt that God is even listening. I begin to beat myself up thinking maybe I don’t have enough faith. As if the number of doors flying open is proportional to my faith level. This erroneous expectation can produce feelings of guilt when I consider I have to meet a faith quota before the Lord will deliver.
The Lord always delivers. It may not be in the shape and color of what we seek, because we don’t typically know what’s best for us. He does. He always provides in the manner that will support our spiritual evolution. This includes allowing trials, because they shape us.
Try as I might, sustainable consistent faith doesn’t appear humanly achievable. That may be why Steven Furtick felt it necessary to write those words, to encourage us through our struggle. And it must also be why God inspired these words in scripture:
“If we are faithless,
He will remain faithful,
For he cannot disown himself.” — 2 Timothy 2:13
He cannot disown himself. I love those words. He cannot act in contradiction to himself, or to the power of who He is. He is firm, unyielding, and consistent in His faithfulness. It is against His nature to be anything but constant. So His faithfulness toward us is independent of our faithfulness toward Him.
As God, He yields a supernatural level of faithfulness. If He did not, and if He were an inconsistent force, the universe would cease to exist. He demonstrates His faithfulness (lasting, reliable) in the universal laws which remain in existence since the beginning of time. I doubt man has yet discovered all the laws that govern the universe, in the infinite nature that is His Creation. These laws reveal the irrefutable faithful nature of the universe, of God. The late Richard Fyman, a Nobel Prize Physicist, said of the mathematical laws that describe the universe, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.” (http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html)
He will remain faithful instills in me the confidence, that when I am feeling weak, God’s faithfulness stands firm. I can lean on His faithfulness and trust His will. He doesn’t want us to carry guilt for our human condition: the struggle with our faithfulness. Instead, much as He loves us unconditionally, His faithfulness is unconditional. We are His Beloved. He does not require of His Beloved Creation to earn what is already ours through Grace.
Copyright © 2012 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.
Image Source: Copyright © 2012 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.