"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' "I have many sweet memories of singing these verses in church and in my devotions. In some sense I think that these words have molded my theology more than most. During difficult times ... times of questioning and unbelief ... these words provided me with comfort and strength. The words I sang go like this:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new, every morning
New, every morning
Great is Thy faithfulness O Lord
Great is Thy faithfulness
It can be said that the heart of the Bible is God's love for, and faithfulness to, His people. We are often a bit bewildered and dismayed when this love and faithfulness does not look the way we want them to look. Our pain defines us much more than we want to admit. Times of deep disappointment and trouble can call this love and faithfulness into question. When I am in such a state I find it helpful to remember that this love and faithfulness was on full display on a cross so many years ago. The writer of Hebrews says of Jesus:
"he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." -- Hebrews 2:17Merciful and faithful! Oh the incomparable Jesus! When we despair most He remains faithful ... and merciful! I remember speaking a prophetic word over 20 years ago that said, in essence, that when Satan demands to sift us like wheat ... Jesus prays for us (like He told Peter) that our faith would not fail. Does that encourage you? Only a merciful and faithful High Priest can intercede for us when we cannot pray for ourselves.
The following scriptures speak of His faithfulness to us:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." -- 1John 1:7Though we are often faithless He remains faithful ... to forgive us ... to protect us and to lead us ... great is His faithfulness. His mercy is new every morning.
"the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." -- 2Thessalonians 3:3
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." -- 1Corinthians 10:13