Have you ever woken up in the morning with a song already being sung in your head? Maybe something from your childhood, Sharon, Lois, and Bram is a common one for me, especially now that my children listen to them as well. An 80’s power ballad? An old Sunday School song?
This morning for me it was the old hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness. Now, knowing the state in which I went to sleep, disgruntled, slightly ticked off at the ambiguities of the world around me, worried about decisions and deadlines, this would not necessarily be the natural progression for my internal listening material.
But there it was.
“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. (Thomas Obediah Chisholm)
And it was what I needed. I needed the reminder of God’s continual presence in my life, his compassion, steadfastness, the fact that though my world may at times feel blown in the wind, he doesn’t change. He will be as he always has been.
What a gift faithfulness is, not only in God but in those around us. The surety we feel when we’re with that person who is with us no matter what. Who knows our trials and our celebrations and has stood with us through them both. Those people who we turn to because we know they will never turn from us.
When I think of those people in my life and in the lives of others I am convinced more and more that this faithfulness is a product of God’s presence with them. That it truly is a Fruit of his Spirit.
Because faithfulness is hard. It’s easy to stand with someone at the party, more difficult to stand beside them at the funeral. Faithfulness is multi-faceted. One of its faces is the never-changing aspect of its committment. Through good and bad, sickness and health, temper tantrums and tears. Faithfulness is there through them all, loving, supporting, guiding.
Faithfulness is standing with someone not only when their situation is difficult but when they’re difficult as well. Through their doubts, fears, bad decisions, counter-productive actions, and misdirected anger. Faithfulness is seeing another person through these things because we are called by Christ to love others.
We dig into faithfulness because God digs in with us.
“Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” Psalm 119:90
All through his dealing with his people, God is faithful.
Though we forget his promises and turn away, ignoring his ever-presentness, he is faithful.
Though we lean on our own understanding, he is faithful.
Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is faithful.
Though life is good and we gloss over time spent with him, he is faithful.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
God’s gift of faithfulness to us not only sustains us but inspires us. When I look at his faithfulness and how this is played out and loved out in people around me, I am encouraged.
These Fruits of the Spirit, given by God, give us the means to point others towards God.
When others are faithful to me, even when I’m not a nice person to know, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me.
When I’m faithful to others, even when they’re not nice people to know, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me when I struggle and forget him.
It is a gift of his Spirit, this faithfulness. Sustained by the reminder of God and lovingly offered up in relationship with each other.
Faithfulness is God’s gift that he keeps on giving.