|Posted on May 9, 2019 at 4:40 PM|
I have not kept the good news of Your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about Your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in great assembly of Your unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalm 40:10
When I think about God’s faithfulness I am reminded of the times I was faithless. When I counted on things that weren’t God to get me through the struggles in my life. When I turned to my addictions for relief. When I looked to people to pull me out of the pits of despair I was in. While all those things worked in the moment they never sustained the saving power that God had over my life. As Paul says in his letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:13 If we are unfaithful He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.
I have only ever been faithful to one person all my life and that person was myself. In a world where I was taught to look out for myself I did, I did it with such pride and arrogance, quick to boast in my own efforts as if the things that just so happened to go my way contributed to coincidence certainly not anything I couldn’t see working in the background to ensure I got to where I was supposed to be. My faithlessness contributed to one thing my empty, soulless, wretched life but when my son came along suddenly that emptiness wasn’t good enough to pass down though it was passed down faithfully to me.
And your children will be like shepherds, wandering in the wilderness for forty years. In this way, they will pay for your faithfulness, until the last of you lies dead in the wilderness. Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years- a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have Me for an enemy. Numbers 14:33
I didn’t return to the LORD till my late thirties almost forty years in the wilderness I wondered without direction, without any guidance of how to precede, just going in circles around the same mountains. I thought what was good enough for everyone before me must be good enough for my son but there was always that feeling that there had to be more to life than this. There was more to being alive than working for the weekends.
I remember my security question for my job was why do you work? And my answer was for my days off. I worked to enjoy my time off. No other reason than that. I spent every cent I made. I lived check to check. I never gave anything away. My possessions defined me. As the world says the one with the most toys wins. I had nothing to show for my life except my son and even still I had nothing to pass onto him but the same thing I got which was a whole lot of nothing in life but to work, spend, sleep, repeat.
My ancestors were a bit like that too in Psalm 78:56-57 But they kept testing and rebelling against the God Most High. They did not obey His laws. They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow. Growing up a holiday Catholic shrines and idols were all I knew. I remember lighting candles to saint Jude in hopes of landing a job or winning the lottery. I remember holding onto the rosary like a corded telephone wire praying to my brothers’ mother, Mary. After all she had the power to bring the Son of God into this world surely she could heal me of my illnesses too. I didn’t need to talk to God the Creator who knit me in my mothers’ womb, when I could just repeat a single prayer to Mary over and over again in case she didn’t hear me the first time. In all my faithlessness He remained faithful to me, longing for me to pray to Him, speak to Him my every need, thank Him for all He had done for those thirty something years I was silent.
“I thought to Myself, ‘I would love to treat you as My own children!’ I wanted nothing more than to give You this beautiful land- the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to Your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from Me. But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel! You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband. I, the LORD, have spoken.” Jeremiah 3:19-20
What did I get for my faithless life well I got to live a lifetime without Him believing in nothing greater than myself. And what was I able to do all by myself, I did nothing, I had nothing to show for this life of selfishness. Never knowing His presence was always with me I was always looking to this world to fill a void, a loneliness only He could fill. Like Cain I felt doomed to wander through the unknown. Alone, fearful of every thought, reacting to this world like I was walking through a freaking haunted house. Never knowing what was going to jump out and perhaps kill me. Death was about the only thing I was certain of. Death was coming for me daily and there would be no more living after that only darkness to expect.
In my searching for something more I came across Hosea 14:1-7 not quoted exact but more personal when it reads “Return, (insert name), to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Forgive all my sins and graciously receive me so that I may offer You my praises.* (In Greek the fruit of my lips) I know now that no one can save me, not even my own strength. Never again will I say to idols that are manmade, handmade and lifeless ‘You are my gods.’ No in You alone do I find mercy.” The LORD says to me “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; My love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to you like a refreshing dew from heaven. You will bloom like a lily and will have deep roots like a cedar tree. Your branches will spread out like a beautiful olive tree, as fragrant as cedar. My people will again live under My shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as wine.”
“Forgive all my sins and receive me.” It started with a simple confession. An acknowledgement of all I alone had done to get me to where I was in life that I needed something greater than myself. Then when that wasn’t enough I even confessed for those long gone- my mother and my grandmother and my great grandmother who handed me over to this faithless life. If there was one thing I knew the way of life I was taught was not the way God intended me to live there was more to it, so much more and it started by returning to the One who had been faithful to me.
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16:11