Wherever you live on the planet, sooner or later a massive storm will come. It could be torrential rain and flood, or possibly destructive winds. But it’s coming. Life is like that, too.
When physical storms hit, sometimes you have the chance to prepare. In Florida we deal with hurricanes every year. People stockpile food and water, purchase wood to cover windows, some even buy generators to supply the power they need in a crisis. If you’re able to prepare for a storm it can make getting through it somewhat easier. But other storms hit with little to no warning. Tornados come to mind. So do tsunamis. You just have to face their destructive power with whatever resources and protective measures are at hand.
As I was considering surviving the physical storms of life my mind turned towards the emotional and spiritual storms that we all face as well. Sometimes you have a chance to prepare for those, but all too often they will strike without warning, too. Learning that someone you love has inoperable brain tumors gives you time to prepare, and time to say goodbye. Car accidents that claim the life of a family member or friend do not. They come upon you with no warning, and leave pain and devastation in their path.
This morning I was considering these things. I was reminded of some ongoing crises in my family and with my friends. And I was reminded of God’s faithfulness.
The first three words of our verse today are the core focus.
GOD IS FAITHFUL. HE WILL NOT ALLOW THE TEMPTATION TO BE MORE THAN YOU CAN STAND.
The verse, of course, is a reference to His strength in dealing with the temptations we all face. He is faithful. Temptations are not allowed to overwhelm us. He simply never allows it. This speaks to His absolute control and mastery, only what He allows passes to us, nothing more.
Not too much. Never too much.
Of course God is faithful in helping us deal with our temptations and life battles. But His faithfulness goes so much farther than that.
GOD IS FAITHFUL.
His love for us is steadfast, immoveable. It isn’t changed by whims of emotion. His love for us never ceases or comes to an end. It continues on and an on. His love reaches higher than any barrier you see before you. The depth of His love extends to the very bedrock of everything in your life, solidly grounded and established. Wider than the widest ocean, wider than a trillion galaxies, His love extends to places we cannot see or imagine.
In one of the prayers recorded in the scriptures, the Apostle Paul prays that Christ will dwell in the hearts of his friends in the Ephesian church through faith. He says that as they are rooted and grounded in love, they will comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of Christ. God is faithful. His faithfulness allows you and I to know this love that surpasses knowledge, so we may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God is faithful. When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is faithful. His cleansing calls us into fellowship with Jesus Christ. As Christ dwells within us, the faithfulness of God changes us from within.
God is faithful. As we walk in fellowship with Christ, He establishes us in His faithfulness and guards us against the evil one.
God is faithful. Whether the skies are clear and sunny or you’re in the middle of one of life’s tornadoes, He is our rock, our stronghold, our fortress and our strength. Our God and savior is the one who holds us up.
God is faithful. All His work is done in faithfulness. Every touch of His hand is a work of His faithfulness.
A bell buoy rings in a harbor only during storms. The beating of the waves and wind bring out the music that is within it. The trials and temptations we face reveal what is inside a person. When we feel as though we’re about to be overcome, we can call upon the God who loves us an gives us His strength.
Why “trials and temptations” you may ask? Because even for those of us who want to stand in faith, the trials of life come with temptations to doubt. Our pain can cause us to wonder if God has forgotten us, or worse. I’ve been in so much pain before that I couldn’t even lift my voice in praise. I’ve been so devastated that I couldn’t pray and didn’t want to. It’s in times like this that the value of the sacramental stream of the faith with its Book of Common prayer and devotionals is seen. The day will come when you will not be able to pray in your own strength; on that day the liturgy and the pre-written prayers of others will pray for you.
God is faithful. Through His faithfulness He brings us from the place of trials to places of abundance.
God says His faithful ones will abound with blessings. He wants to pour blessing upon blessing into our lives. Good, full measures of every sort of blessing; poured out, pressed down, packed in, shaken together so that there is room for more. Pouring forth blessings until the blessings overflow. And as we marvel at the blessings, sometimes we feel unworthy; sometimes we protest, “That’s too much.”
God simply keeps pouring out more and tells us, “No, it’s not too much; it’s never too much. Be faithful, like I am. Give it away. I’ve given you seed to be sown into the lives of those in need. Be faithful.”
GOD IS FAITHFUL.