Article written by Lottie Bridges.
Happy New Year! It’s January, the start of a new year. Did you know that the word January comes from a mythological god named Janus? He had two faces, giving him the ability to see behind him while looking forward — kind of like those mothers and teachers who seem to have eyes in the back of their heads!!
This is the perfect time for looking back at 2017 while looking forward to the prospect of an even better 2018. Highlights of 2017 for me include celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and walking along the beach during a much-needed vacation. I also see indications of spiritual growth in sermon notes and remarks written in my devotional journal. Times spent with our PDF group or during camp meetings, ladies retreats, and other church events have been positive things for 2017. But when I look through my calendar I also find more doctor visits than I would like. And my journal reminds me that some of the spiritual growth came in response to God using His Word and His Spirit to send correction into my life.
Looking back may bring a feeling of joy or pleasure for you, but it also may bring pain and sorrow as it has for me. In the midst of reviewing the joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure, one thing which stands out is the faithfulness of God. “He’s been faithful, faithful to me. Looking back, His love and mercy I see.” (Carol Cymbala, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)
What does the word faithful bring to your mind? I think of someone who is totally trustworthy, someone on whom I can depend. I’m grateful for a husband whose faithfulness has been evident for over 50 years. I’m thankful for loyal family members who are always there for me. I’m blessed to have friends whom I’m certain will keep their word. I know the reality of their faithfulness because of a personal relationship with each one. I’ve proven many times that my husband, family, and friends are faithful.
I’m even more grateful for the sacred agreement, the covenant relationship, the steadfast unfailing love between God and God’s people — including me. As with human relationships, I’ve learned to trust God by getting to know HIM on a personal level. One way that has happened has been through studying His Word, discovering statements of His faithfulness.
-God speaks of Himself in Exodus 34:6-7 — “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
-Deuteronomy 7:9 — “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;..”
-1 Corinthians 10:13 — “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
-1 John 1:9 — “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
-Psalm 89:1 — “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.”
God’s faithfulness has also been evident as I’ve looked back, reviewing His working in my life. He spared my life when I was a newborn. He blessed me with a Godly mother and grandmother who made a big difference during my formative years. His faithfulness led me to a Christian high school and Bible college. He was faithful to give me a husband who loves God and is committed to the marriage vows made before God.
God’s faithfulness has provided strength and guidance as we’ve reared two daughters to love God. His faithfulness gave peace as our older daughter married and moved to the other side of the world. He has supplied my needs — spiritual, emotional, and physical — and has even fulfilled some wants. I’ve found comfort through His faithfulness during times of pain, loss, and uncertainty. His faithfulness has meant using both the good times and the trials to mold me into the person He wants me to be. Life hasn’t been perfect, but it has been good because of the love, mercy, and faithfulness of the Lord. As Lamentations 3:22-24 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul. Therefore I will hope in Him.”
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 wilt be.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow — Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
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!
(Words by Thomas Chilsolm)