Faithfulness . . . . do I really comprehend the depth of meaning in that one word? Am I faithful to those in my life, the people to whom I have pledged my unfailing love and commitment? What does it mean for me to be faithful, and how important is it, in light of God's promise of faithfulness to me? As I read these words, I thought about the words of the Lord's Prayer that we frequently recite (and frequently don't even think about the significance of the words): "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." It seems to say that God will forgive us in the same measure with which we forgive those who have sinned against us. And in this verse, the Psalmist seems to be saying that God is faithful - but that He requires faithfulness on our part to receive the fullest measure of His gift in our lives. Since faithfulness in my human relationships has been such a significant part of my life, I have very definite opinions about the topic!
Faithfulness - God is faithful to those of us who are faithful. I always have been inquisitive, and so I think about "faithfulness," and ask myself: "What would that look like in my everyday life?" Since every one of us has failed in this area at one time or another (or many!), what does it mean in this life for us to be faithful? The obvious answer is simple - am I faithful in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships with my friends - but what does it REALLY LOOK LIKE to be faithful? Sometimes we see our lives in "snapshots" - a moment in time when we perceive ourselves either to have failed or succeeded in a specific situation. But I think God's concept of "faithfulness" goes so far beyond those moments of time.
Recently our family has been blessed with the opportunity to reconnect with some people in our lives that we have not been close to for several years. It happens in every family. Unfortunately in some of these situations, it happens as a result of tragedy. My sister-in-law (in her late 40s) had a massive stroke, and the next week my brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Our lives had been busy (as we all are) with the regular, everyday demands of paying bills, taking care of kids, jobs, and doing laundry, so we just had not taken the time to stay in regular contact. There was nothing negative that had happened, it was just that geographical distance made it difficult to connect in person, and the "busyness" of life just took over. Fortunately, my sister-in-law is recovering and making great progress with her therapy, and my brother had surgery and has been declared cancer free, at least for now. But the other positive outcome of all of this has been that we have reconnected. We are going to visit them soon and celebrate birthdays and family.
But what does faithfulness have to do with all of that? Well, that is just one small example of how we can be faithful to those we love - even when we don't have the opportunity, for whatever reason, to reach out and touch our loved ones with our words, we can hold them close in our hearts and pray that God will give us another chance. Another opportunity in this life to tell them how much we love them. Sometimes family relationships are "broken" for a while. Or more precisely, they sometimes are "cracked" and not completely "broken." Sometimes we choose to walk away and never look back. Sometimes that is what we need to do, if the relationship is destructive. But sometimes relationships are "cracked" as a result of misunderstandings, confusion, and half-truths. Those are the times when we REALLY need to be faithful!
God expects us to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and "be faithful" to who we are in a "cracked" relationship. No matter what the results of our faithfulness; even if our acts of lovingkindness are rejected, God requires our faithfulness. And then, even if it takes years and years of prayer, and even if we don't see the results of our faithfulness for a very long time, eventually God will honor that faithfulness. So, I think about how we frequently read a verse such as this one, and what we hear is "To the faithful (right this minute!), You show Yourself faithful (right now!)" But that is just not the way it usually works out.
Waiting to see God's faithfulness as He repairs "cracked" or "broken" relationships is not easy. I pray that we don't wait for a tragedy to restore and repair that which has been damaged. The "glue" of God's love and forgiveness can heal hearts so completely that all of those shattered pieces fit back together perfectly!
If you would like to participate in this week's "In Other Words," please visit Tami at her blog, "The Next Step," where you can post a link to your blog post on this verse and find links to the other participants. Have a great week and never be afraid to be faithful, even if it isn't always easy ;o) Nina