Seeing faithfulness to God through different lenses and experiences from the Bible...
Snapshots of Faithfulness
By Chantal J. Klingbeil
“Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us.
For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few’ ” (1 Sam. 14:6).
Jonathan, how did you get it right? (I often find life so complicated. It sometimes seems impossible to be faithful to the people around me when they are not meeting my needs.)
How were you able to be faithful to your father, King Saul, who even tried to kill you twice? You always remained loyal and faithful to your family. And, at the same time, you were faithful to your friend David, who was being hunted by your father.
You remained best friends and swore loyalty to David, even when you realized that he would take your throne. How did you do it?
“And he said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord’ ” (1 Sam. 24:6).
David, you were given a golden opportunity in that cave. King Saul, who had been hunting you for so long, entered the cave completely oblivious to your crouching men.
(I hate waiting. I hate waiting for things that I consider my right. Waiting and waiting and not seeing God actively working the way I believe He should be is a real test of faith for me.)
It would have been so easy; it even seemed providential. The sword would have found its mark, and all your months of living in the wilderness like a hunted animal would have been ended and the path to the throne wide open.
And yet you chose not to take Saul’s life. You waited for God’s timing. Being still and waiting—being faithful to God’s timing. How did you do it?
“And Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields.
Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing’ ” (2 Sam. 11:11).
Even though you are known as “the Hittite,” you were faithful to your adopted country and faithful to your God.
(I find being faithful difficult when it means going against the flow. Being faithful means holding on to something even when others let me down, even when others try to manipulate or bribe me.)
You were loyal and brave. You set high standards, and you kept to high standards. It was so much a part of the fabric of your being that gifts, bribery, or even perfectly permissible pleasures couldn’t distract you from that loyalty and faithfulness.
Nothing could persuade you to go home and take a break as long as the ark of God and the Lord’s army were on the battlefield. You paid for your faithfulness with your life. How did you do it?
“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word’ ” (Luke 1:38).
With just a flash of an angel’s wings you were ready to have your life turned upside down.
(I am more inclined to look for a tame faith. I prefer something that I think I can control. To be faithful to God when I don’t see any immediate benefits is hard.)
What about all your carefully laid plans for your wedding? What would Joseph say? What would the neighbors say? What about a lifetime of living with the shame?
You just simply said “yes” to a lifetime of whispers when you entered a room, a lifetime of being misunderstood and judged to be someone you were not. What made you simply say “Behold the maidservant of the Lord”?
“And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son’ ” (1 Kings 17:13).
You were a poor widow from the city of Zarephath. He was asking for your last bit of oil and flour. You had a son to think of. What was it about this foreign man of God that gave you the assurance that what he said was true? Why did you go home and make him that last bread?
I suppose you didn’t have too much to lose. It was the last meal anyway. (I sometimes hang on very tightly to things. Being faithful often involves letting go of the stuff that my life revolves around. Having too much can be a curse and not a blessing.)
You gave up your last bit of material security and threw your family into the arms of this unknown God. What made you take this leap of faith? Jonathan, David, Uriah, Mary, Joseph, the widow of Zarephath, none of you were perfect.
I’m sure that you all had your moments of doubt, and yet the story of your lives could be titled Faithful. Your faith was a reaction to meeting the Faithful One.
You caught glimpses of your Creator, who was not constrained by the visible but could look at a formless empty world and see trees and animals and then speak them into being.
You understood that here was Someone who loved you so much, who saw such potential in you, that He would be willing to die rather than spend eternity without you.
You were prepared to let go of how you thought things should be, and you chose to trust this God even when the outcome was so different from what you had ever imagined.
Thank you for sharing your faith. The testimony of your lives challenges me.
“How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9).
Joseph, you were far away from home. You were on your own in Egypt. Your brothers had sold you.
(It’s one thing being faithful when everyone is watching. I find it so much harder when no one will ever know. It is hard to be faithful when duty and desire go in opposite directions.)
You had to watch out for yourself, and then Mrs. Potiphar made her move. She represented an opportunity for you. She made an offer that would be so hard to refuse, and yet you turned from it and fled, even leaving your coat behind.
What made you faithful to your pagan master? How could you still be faithful to a God who had let you be torn away from everything that had made life worth living?