Biblical Perspectives in Everyday Life
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13, emphasis added).
When trials hit, we can take a certain degree of comfort in knowing that others have been through similar troubles— and survived. In fact, the apostle Paul encourages us with the following:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, emphasis added).
Often, people try to comfort one another by saying things like, “I made it; you can too,” or “Be strong; if I did it, you can do it, too!” Are those statements really that comforting?
Not long ago, I faced a complicated surgery. I joined a website where people who had experienced similar surgeries could ask one another questions about what to expect. There were various forums that covered every aspect of the procedure I was facing. It was encouraging to learn that other people had successfully made it through a similar ordeal. I will tell you, however, that during those last few moments prior to surgery—before I “went under”—I was not thinking about the surgical experiences of others. I was thinking about and praying to God, because He has proven Himself to be faithful over and over and over again.
The commonality of human troubles can give us some comfort, but the real comfort we can offer one another is in the three words from the opening passage: God is faithful.
What difference would the rest of 1 Corinthians 10:13 make if God were not faithful? Could God make a way of escape and not allow us to be tested beyond our endurance if He were not faithful? What difference would any of the promises in Scripture make, if God were not faithful? How could we endure in any of life’s great trials if we did not know that God is faithful?
I might say to someone, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” but so what? That’s a nice sentiment, but I can’t make and keep that promise. My life is limited; I do not have the ability to be in more than one place at the same time. When God, who has proven to be faithful throughout history, says that He will never leave us nor ever forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), we can trust Him. We can trust everything He says to be true in His Word, because God is faithful.
Contrary to what some self-proclaimed “faith” teachers would have us believe, God’s faithfulness is not dependent on, or limited by, our faith. God’s faithfulness depends only upon God Himself, and He is faithful. We can trust Him because He is so faithful, not because our faith is so great! He does not give us faith so that we can have faith in our faith. Our prayer should be, “Oh, for grace to trust Him more!”
He is even faithful when we do not trust Him enough. He works in ways we do not see, even when we may not have the faith to believe He is working. He does that because He is faithful. When He leads us through deep waters or through the fire, He is still faithful. When things seem indescribably BAD, He is still faithful!
The prophet Jeremiah, in one of the worst times in Israel’s history, declared:
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21-23).
We receive hope by “calling to mind” that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, that His mercies never come to an end and they are new every morning. We can depend upon His love and mercy because He is faithful.
Many times, when a believer has gone through some excruciatingly painful, heart-breaking situation, he or she will say, “But God was so faithful.” I have experienced it myself. Even though I would never choose to walk through such an awful situation, God brought me through it. In the process, He helped me to know Him in a deeper way, to trust Him more, and to experience His faithfulness.
Many songs have been written extolling God’s faithfulness. The first that comes to mind is the inspiring hymn by Thomas Chisholm, sung by millions of Christians around the world.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness1
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 will be.
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!
Another song is the beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness by Carol Cymbala.
He’s Been Faithful2
In my loneliness and fear, through every pain, every tear There’s a God who’s been faithful to me
When my strength was all gone, when my heart had no song Still my God has been faithful to me
Every word He promised is true
What I thought was impossible, I’ve seen my God do
He’s been faithful, faithful to me
Just looking back, His love and mercy I see When in my heart I have questioned
And even failed to believe
He’s been faithful, faithful to me.
Perhaps you have never heard of Annie Johnson Flint. She was an orphan who, along with her sister, was raised by foster parents who brought her up to trust in God’s faithfulness. As a young school teacher in the early 1900’s, she was stricken with crippling arthritis. Within three years of contracting the arthritis, it was nearly impossible for her to walk, so she had to give up teaching. Her foster parents were deceased, and her sister was too frail to care for Annie, so she moved into a “sanitarium.” In order to pay for her stay there, with no hope of recovery or relief, she began to write and sell poetry. A pencil or crayon was pushed into Annie’s gnarled hands, and she, with physical agony, penned poems of her experiences of God’s faithfulness. One of her more famous poems put to music is, He Giveth More Grace. This powerful song tells about our Heavenly Father giving us grace time and time again to meet whatever situation we face, in spite of our weaknesses and limited resources. One of her lesser known works is one of the last poems she wrote, titled “What God Hath Promised.” Two of the stanzas from that poem say:
What God Hath Promised3
God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower strewn pathways all our lives through; God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
Annie is just one of millions who have learned that God does not always keep us from pain or difficult circumstances, but He does ALWAYS walk with us, encourage us, and give us grace to meet the enormous challenges of life here on earth.
Our problems and our trials are common to humankind. Our hope is secure in knowing that God is faithful! The following verses are but a few that confirm His great faithfulness:
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness (Psalm 111:7-8).
Your steadfast love, O LORD , extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds (Psalm 36:5).
As for you, O LORD , you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! (Psalm 40:11)
But you, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15).
It is good to give thanks to the LORD , to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night… (Psalm 92:1-2).
For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 117:1-2)
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
We can and should comfort one another with the promise of God’s faithfulness. Yes, the trials are hard, the pain hurts; there is just no denying that life is difficult. But, God is faithful.
Sometimes when we face trials, it may seem like we cannot stand one more day, but God is faithful. Perhaps your financial situation seems dire, but God is faithful. Your illness may appear to be devastating, but God is faithful. The path ahead may seem to lead to destruction, the valley may be deep, the storm clouds may look ominous, and the mountain may look like you cannot go over it, but always remember…God is faithful.
1 Public Domain
2 He’s Been Faithful by Carol Joy Cymbala, copyright 1989, Word Music/Carol Joy Music
3 Public Domain
God is Faithful © 2009 WordTruth, Inc—http://www.wordtruth.net
Verses from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version © 2001Version by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers