This morning we changed the calendar month for the last time this year. How did it get to be December already we wonder? Where did the year go? And will the next one be any better? The first two questions we can answer. We got here a day at a time. Some of the days went by in a haze, a haze brought on by a pandemic and other challenges. Other days were busy with cleaning out closets and cupboards. The year has gone by just like any other...one day at a time. Every year brings challenges, struggles and times of great joy and rejoicing. People still got married this year. Babies were still born this year. People graduated from school this year though it has looked different than ever before. The point is, life moves on, relentlessly.
I would guess when the rain began to fall on Noah and his family it was interesting at first. It is quite possible people had never seen rain before. A few days of rain wouldn't be too bad, but 40 days of hard pounding rain? That most likely got old. But when it quit raining that wasn't the end for Noah and his family because that rain flooded everything. Scripture tells us the entire earth was covered. All they could see was water...everywhere. They would not be leaving the ark anytime soon. One day led to another and they all looked the same. Does that sound vaguely familiar?
The Israelites were thrilled to leave Egypt and slavery behind. The night they left was exciting, dangerous even. Moving all those people, 2.5 million by some estimates, plus their livestock and possessions was quite an undertaking. But it didn't take long before people were unhappy. Camping in the desert was not fun, water was in short supply, and the menu selection for meals was VERY limited. They were having second thoughts about leaving. Maybe Egypt wasn't so bad after all. They cried out to God asking for more water and meat to eat. God provided, but they ate manna and quail every day for 40 years. Every day it was the same thing. One day led to another and they all looked the same.
Whether we are stuck on an ark floating on a flood of water, or we are wandering in the wilderness, or we are stuck in the middle of a pandemic, God is present. Because God is faithful. He was faithful to Daniel when he got tossed into the lion's den. He was faithful in keeping watch over Moses as he floated in a reed basket on the Nile River. He was faithful to Joseph when he was in prison. In every story in scripture, God is faithful. In our own stories today...God is faithful. We may have asked for things we want and did not receive them, but we have received what we need. God is faithful.
Here are some verses that speak to God's faithfulness. 2 Timothy 2:13 reminds us, ”If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” In other words, God will always be God, and God is faithful. Even when we aren't. The psalmist writes, ”For the Word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in Faithfulness.” Psalm 33:4. Or this, ”He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” Psalm 91:4. This verse should be familiar, ”If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. That is part of the confession and forgiveness in The Lutheran Book of Worship. The bottom line is, God is faithful...always.
God is faithful and we are called to walk by faith, not by sight...2 Corinthians 5:7. It is easy to become frantic, scared, even angry when life doesn't go the way we would have it go. But God remains faithful. It is much easier to be faithful when we are not trying to live our lives in our strength. Because in our strength, it is easy to become discouraged and lose sight of how God has kept us in the past. God has a pretty stellar track record of being faithful. We may feel stretched thin and that is alright. God knows how to put us back into shape. We may feel overwhelmed. That's alright as well. God will give us the strength to rise above whatever overwhelms us. We may feel abandoned. God promised to never leave us or forsake us.
Every day we receive His mercies anew. Every day is a chance to begin again. It is a chance to recommit to Him and move forward stronger. God's faithfulness is often manifested in someone God puts in our path. Someone who will walk this part of the journey with us. Maybe we are just weary. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul reminds them that God's grace and power are always available. We do not have to be ashamed of our weakness. God's grace and faithfulness will cover us and strengthen us. God is faithful in many ways. He will continue to walk with us through this crazy year and on into the next. We always have a place to go when we don't know where else to turn. He waits for us to come to Him. So, what are we waiting for?
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W