Earlier this month I celebrated my 36th birthday. If you forgot a gift, it’s okay. Just stop reading this right now and head on over to this site to pick me up a little something nice. Thank you.
One of my first thoughts when I woke up on the morning of my birthday was on God’s faithfulness. As I gave a quick scan over the last 36 years of my life, I thought about how I had to deal with my parents splitting up before I was even five, spending most of my school years as a latchkey kid (Is that even legal anymore?) and now leading a family of my own. God has been faithful through it all.
As my day continued, God’s faithfulness became even more evident. I got out of bed early that day and went for one of the longest and best runs of my life. When I got home, I was greeted by the smell of breakfast cooking, hugs from my two sons and a kiss from my wife. All three came to me with gifts and cards and pictures in their hands.
After breakfast, I rushed off to our town’s housing authority where our church had been working with kids and families all weak by teaching them the gospel, sharing food and playing games. I got to tell these kids and their families about how through faith and repentance in Christ we can call God our Father. The kids in this group were as young as 4 and as old as 12. Each one of them sat side by side and hung on my every word. I was in my element. It was great. God is faithful.
When my day was over, I met back up with my family for my oldest son’s soccer game that went something like this. Afterwards we ate Chick-fil-a, ice cream and homemade pie. To top it all off, I got word later in the day that the most pathetic team in all of college football, check that, all of sports, was placed on probation and forced to vacate its already meaningless conference championship from a few years back.
Before I went to bed that night, I went for a walk through the meadow where I drank from a brook with a dear and laughed as a blue bird ate berries from my hand.
You get the point. It was a good day and my first thoughts of that day regarding God and his faithfulness were quite appropriate.
But, what if?
What if I would have tripped over a rock just after starting my morning run, wiped out (Yes, it’s happened to me but you can’t prove anything. This is not an admission of guilt.) and had to cut my run off early, licking my wounds all the way back home?
What if instead or returning home to the sound of my family laughing and food sizzling, there would have been no noise, no pitter patter of little feet on the floor, no kiss from a wife and no pictures to post on Facebook?
What if, like my older brother, there would have been no first birthday, much less a 36th one? If, like him, I had been born with severe deformities and died shortly after coming into the world, would this have done anything to chip away at God’s faithfulness?
Absolutely not. But why?
I have a tendency to think of God as being faithful for 36 years, 11 days and counting. In other words, I have been known to make the mistake of judging whether or not God is faithful by how good things are going for me. It’s easy for me to proclaim God’s faithfulness while I’m high as a kite from a great morning run but it’s also easy for me to doubt that very same God’s faithfulness when his agenda doesn’t exactly cooperate with mine.
Scripture shows us a God who has been faithful before time began and who will continue to be faithful after time as we know it has come to a screeching halt.
We see his faithfulness in his perfect Triune fellowship before creation (Genesis 1:1).
We see it in his promise to deliver humanity from the mess we got ourselves into (Genesis 3:15; Matthew 1:21).
We see that God is faithful when he makes an unusual promise to a seemingly random man and keeps that promise (Genesis 12; Galatians 3:29).
And we will one day see that faithfulness in all of it glory as we enjoy the perfect, eternal rule of Christ (Romans 8:18-25; Revelation 21:22-22:5).
By God’s good grace, may we not stop with just our birthdays as we consider the faithfulness of God. For an even fuller picture, let’s look further to the birth, murder and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a fulfillment of God’s promises to his people.
God is faithful.