Have you ever had the time when you met someone that you once trusted, but let you down and probably hurt you badly? I’m sure you have.
Christians often talk about faith and rightly so. We are designed to live by faith. Everything starts in the spirit realm and material things depend on spiritual things for their very existence, but we require faith to comprehend this. Faith dictates our future. Faith sees what the natural cannot see and this is the area in which God expects us to function. The just shall live by…faith. See Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38.
On this occasion however, I am not referring to faith as such but to faith…fullness. It is our faithfulness that proves the mettle of the man. If we are not faithful, we cannot be trusted. There have been many times I expected someone to help me in a particular thing and relied on their promise, but they did not show up, or arrived too late to fulfil the promise. You’ve doubtless experienced this. As a pastor, I had expected someone to open the premises and greet visitors at the door only to find that they were a no show. After a while, I never asked them to do anything because I did not know where I stood. I could not trust them. Faithfulness also embraces honesty especially when it comes to money. It is surprising how dishonest some Christians can be about money…
A pastor friend was conducting a series of pastors meetings and wanted to prepare his church before the event, doing spring-cleaning and the like. Marjorie and I promised to help him and he was surprized. He had received numerous offers of help in the past but no one kept their promises. When we turned up in work clothes he and his wife were surprized because they had only seen us dressed in suits. We said we would do anything he wanted and he asked us if we would clean the toilets, which we did. Unlike many others, we are prepared to do anything for the Kingdom and he almost broke down and cried. He had been hurt many times before. In his experience most Christians he knew were unfaithful. I suppose you have similar stories to tell.
I said all that to say this; God is always dependable and reliable. He is faithful to the n’th degree and you can trust Him. The issue really is, “Are you and I really willing to stand and keep on standing until His promise comes to pass in our lives?” Faith does not depend on time…it is always now. That is a definition of faith as per Hebrews 11:1.
Faith pushes us beyond our natural understanding and ability. Please also consider that true faith will often place us in a position of ridicule! Think of this for a moment. People who do not live by faith and I mean genuine biblical faith will mock and scoff you when you do. They are only motivated by what they can discern in the natural—by intellectual reasoning and by religion (that was already here when Jesus arrived) because religion keeps people in their familiar comfort zones without any revelation. Religion does not see the unseen. For example Jesus saw a fig tree in Mark 11:12. That fig tree pretended to be something it was not. It had leaves in the way fig trees are supposed to have, but it wasn’t necessarily out of season! For some reason that fig tree was not being productive and that was the problem. We could say that it was pretending. Jesus spoke to it—and kept walking. The following day, that tree had died from the roots, but you cannot see those roots by natural observation! Think this through…
Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9
Because of God’s faithfulness, we can rest in the knowledge that what He said He would do…He will do. That assurance keeps us going when we are going through a difficult time. He could have said something to us that instils hope and our part is to keep believing what He said when we can’t see it yet. David said when he was having a hard time-
Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.
Let’s be honest now. Life sometimes seems unfair. There are times when we could wonder why we are even here and tend to think it is not worth living. Don’t ever say that! Never talk like that. Whenever the situation seems hopeless, that is the time to stop talking foolishly and meditate on what God is like and on what He has said.
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19
If He said it, He will do it and when He says something, as far as He is concerned it is a done deal. He keeps reminding us that.
Lamentations is a book I try to avoid reading. It always sounds negative and, like those people I would prefer to see leave than arrive, feel “really inspired” when I read it. They come with their complaints, crying, “Woe is me”, and always seem to be going from one drama to another (what’s wrong with them?). You know the folk. It’s like a lead balloon trying to take off. The guy who wrote Lamentations is sometimes dubbed the weeping prophet, but anyhow, it’s scripture, so see what he wrote-
I’m a laughingstock to all my people, the butt of their taunts all day long.
(isn’t that inspiring? Let’s continue)...
But in my mind I keep returning to something, something that gives me hope— that the grace of Adonai is not exhausted, that his compassion has not ended.
Sometimes when things are hard going, we tend to think we are the only ones going through that stuff. It is easy to think that no one else knows what you are going through. Oh…really?
Replace the word temptation with trial and testing, obstacles and opposition. Even when things look impossible, God will give you wisdom to know what to do about it. Don’t think of Him giving you enough strength to “endure it” as in putting up with it and suffering in the process. The Greek word is hypopherō. This is a compound word that does mean that God will give you what is needed to be able to cope with it, or, to undergo hardship, but it also means that God will bear you up from underneath. It is as if He scoops you up in his hands and holds you in the palm of His hand. Psalm 49:16 says that God has graven us on the palm of His hand. Isn’t that wonderful?
What seems to be an impossible situation isn’t really. It gives God an opportunity to prove Himself.
Several years ago, I watched my son Gary die. Many years before, God told me-
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13
That was His personal promise. But now, he was in a coma on life support in the intensive care unit at hospital. I asked the Lord what to do and He told me. He said that I was to tell my son, “Gary, this is your father. I want you to know that I love you. I have always loved you and I will never stop loving you.” When I said that, all the instruments connected to him went crazy and returned back to normal. A few moments later, he was gone.
I found out that he had actually died 12 hours previously but the Lord brought him back to life until I could make it with my other son to his bedside.
I cried. It hurt. I miss my son, but I know that I shall see him again. I urge you to read all of Isaiah 54. It is full of our heavenly Father’s loving promise to us. He does not fail us. If you are going through difficulties, God will always do the right thing.
Sometimes it can take a little more time than we would like. God is never early. Nor is He ever late. He is always on time at the right time. Let me explain this way. In Mark 5, Jesus had just arrived in town by boat. One of the prominent leaders approached Him and fell at His feet. A Jewish leader should not have done that, but he did and that publicly acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus. He asked Jesus to come to his home because his daughter was sick.
As they were walking down the road, a woman did the unthinkable. She stopped Jesus and as far as Jairus was concerned, she was nothing but a nuisance, hindering Jesus from coming to his house. All he could see was his daughter lying in her bed. All he wanted was for Jesus to get to his place and heal his precious child, but He stopped! That big crowd wasn’t helping matters any either. Jesus started talking to the woman and then she started telling her story… I can imagine this man thinking, “Oh, dear. Come on Jesus. Come on. Let’s get going. Hurry up. Hurry up!” Don’t we often think like that? “Hurry up!” When are you going to answer my cry? Don’t you know I need your help? I can’t wait any longer.”
I think I know how that man felt when I watched the instruments on Gary’s life support system start shutting down, but I had a promise from the Lord. He told me, “It’s not over…’til it’s over.” Friend, whatever it is that you are going through, it is not over until it’s over and God is faithful. Gary died and was right at hell’s door, because he was not living right and that was hurting me. I had hoped he would be a preacher, because the Lord promised me that one of my sons would be one. Gary’s testimony has led to many people around the world to be born again. Therefore what seemed a dark day for me has turned around for good. The Lord had kept His promise. Gary heard my voice in his coma and, although he could not answer me, received Christ and is now home with Him.
Jesus promised Jairus to go to his daughter and, although it seemed as if He never would, immediately told him something powerful.
Our problems are real. We cannot discount them or pretend that they do not exist. When illness strikes, it is real, so we do not pretend otherwise and this is always distressing. It plays on the mind. We imagine all kinds of things. We can easily become fearful and filled with alarm, so we must do what Jesus said—keep on believing. The issue is, “What do we keep on believing?” We can’t walk around saying, “I’m believing! I’m believing! I’m believing! I’m believing!” Believing what? We have to believe what the Lord said and this can sometimes be a different thing to different individuals. There are different timeframes; different locations; different people around us and all kinds of different things that influence our lives. They’re all real and they do influence us.
What we have to believe therefore is what the Lord tells us—for our situation. He told me what to do about Gary. He may tell you something totally different, so it is up to each of us in our own moments of need to find out what He wants us to declare. What we say does make the difference.
On their arrival, Jesus found the negativity and unbelief so bad it was a noisy tumultuous confusion. When He asked them why they were acting so badly, telling them that the girl was not dead but sleeping, they laughed because of unbelief. He evicted them from the house before doing anything else. You have to get rid of unbelief around you.
Jesus kicked the unbelief out and then spoke to the girl as follows-
Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
If you are experiencing heart wrenching problems and all kinds of difficulties that seem in surmountable, present them immediately to the Lord. Get His answer on it. Jairus did not go to the disciples but to Jesus. Imagine him asking Thomas, “My daughter is ill. What should I do?” No! He went to Jesus and the Lord gave him a promise.
The Lord kept His promise, but on the way, certain other things happened. All the external signs indicated that it was never going to happen. If you are facing situations that seem as if there is no way out, ask the Lord to speak into your life and receive His word. That is what you hold onto…nothing else. His promise to you has to be personal. Every promise in the bible is true, but every promise in the bible has to be personally applied. When He speaks, you can take it to the bank.
So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do, they'll complete the assignment I gave them. Isaiah 55:11
I have often heard people read a passage of scripture and ask God to bless it. It’s already blessed, because the one who blesses said it! I heard people read a passage of scripture and then say that it will not return to God void and that it will do what was said. That’s not so! If we pick and choose scriptures we like and then expect them to work for us in the way we want, we may as well quote Shakespeare for all the good it will do.
God is faithful to His word. Paul said-
As I said earlier, God is not a liar, so when we have a need or a problem, we have the answer in His word.
Sometimes He takes the initiative, but more often than not, it is up to us to declare it and believe it.
The issue sometimes is that of lasting the distance. Are we always willing to keep standing until the manifestation comes?
This is true of Abraham.
Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.
Abraham, as I have said elsewhere was not perfect. He made mistakes just like you and I make mistakes, but he reached the point when He realized that God’s promises are covenant promises that God never breaks. God made His oaths in a blood covenant and I think you understand the significance of that.
And so dear friends, we have a God who is a faithful God. Every promise that He has made to you has the power inside it to make it come to pass. If He said it…He will do it.
If you think of quitting, then choose to refuse to quit and get a promise from God.
I do not know how He will come into your life where you are right now, but I do know that, even when all hope seems gone, He is continually faithful.
I leave you with this blessing,
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rain fall soft upon all that you plant
And until we meet again,
May God cradle you in the hollow of his hand.