"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ..." (Galatians 5:22)
Day after day continues, time rolls on, and for many the days drag slowly. Solomon lamented, "The sun rises, and the sun goes down .... The wind blows .... All streams run to the sea .... All things are full of weariness .... What has been is what will be ... and there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:4-9)
Five weeks ago Jared texted me, "Remember, God is still in control, not the corona virus." (That's how our daily devotions started.)
Faithfulness. What does it mean? Faithfulness means "day after day continuing on." Not stopped by obstacles, resistance, or problems that come along. Not distracted, or forgetting, or neglecting the promise or the goal. When the days roll on moving slowly, then faithfulness can become a challenge. When that new thing comes along "staying the course" faithfully can seem frustrating.
The days go on -- and we are anxious. We want to get there. We want to get through these days that have such limitations, and get back to venturing out and enjoying life a little bit more. Faithfulness can be hard.
Thirty-some years ago a friend in Guttenberg, Iowa was talking with me. He asked, "You know how to plow a straight furrow?" Then he explained, "You can't do it by looking at the field right in front of you, or by looking around. You have to get your eyes on a tree, way out there at the end of the field. You look at that tree and ignore all the other stuff. If there are stumps or rocks you go around them but then you get your eyes back on that tree." (Thank you Ed Walter for an image I have carried with ever since.) That has a lot to do with faithfulness.
Our God is faithful, perfectly and completely. The reason why faithfulness is a part of the fruit of the Spirit is because faithfulness is part of the image of God that God is forming in us. God the Father will have us transformed into "the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers." (Romans 8:29)
God is faithful. There is a hymn that describes God as "Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might". The title for the hymn ("Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise") comes from Paul's first letter to Timothy. "To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever." (1 Timothy 1:17)
God is faithful. He ia dedicated to His promises -- never forgetting the goal of bringing us into glory. He continues on, "unresting" and "unhasting." Psalm 90 says, "a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4) Psalm 90 is marked out in the Bible as "A prayer of Moses". That's how long that verse has been part of the Word of God!
God is faithful, unresting, unhasting, unceasing in His dedication to call us into His kingdom and eternal life. Peter explains the Psalm. "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Jesus gave His promise. After going to the cross for my forgiveness; and after rising on Easter to promise that I will rise, He gave the promise. It has to do with His faithfulness, with His patience and persistence. With unresting and unceasing attention to His promise, He will lead and guide me into eternal life so I can be with Him. So He spoke the promise: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness. I am distracted, discouraged, flighty, forgetful, wandering off, and constantly getting tangled in and tripped up by my sin. Through it all You continue persistent, unwavering, and faithful to every promise. And those promises, life, heaven and eternity; being loved by God and being with You -- those promises cost such a price for You to make them mine. Thank You my Savior. Thank You my Friend. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.