As I stood in the Cenex garage waiting for my car to be repaired, I started thinking about faithfulness and whether or not my car could be deemed faithful.
It’s been through an accident or two and has had to have its tires changed more than it probably should have, but in general I have trusted it. It has made several long trips through mountains and deserts. It kept my wife and me safe during our short stint in Southern California. And my son’s car seat fits safely and securely in the back seat. So as I stood in the maintenance garage, I thought of these things and weighed it against its current condition and wondered if it was still that car. Why did it leave me wondering in the snow about how to get to work? Why didn’t it start when I needed it to?
The problem turned out to simply be a bad battery so I guess it could be argued that the car itself wasn’t unfaithful, just the battery. But still… at a time of need, my 2002 Ford Taurus failed me and my assessment of it as a faithful vehicle faltered. (It’s a good thing I had another 2002 Ford Taurus sitting in my driveway ready to pick up the slack.)
Faithful is the kind of word we use to describe something that will not leave us surprised and cold in the snow wondering how to get to work. It’s also how we describe someone who will not leave us or do us wrong. A wonderful song about faithfulness comes from the band Journey in the song “Faithfully”. In it, a couple is struggling with the distance between them, but is determined to be faithful to each other.
The fact that a song like that has come to be at all betrays the reality of unfaithfulness in our lives. Because we all know what unfaithfulness could feel like and how hurtful it can be, faithfulness is something we all carefully look for and desire.
Scripture describes God as faithful. The pains and hurts of this world often make it seem like God is distant, like he doesn’t care, but the Scriptures remind us over and over again that God’s faithfulness is, well, faithful. He is there for us. Always. God does not leave us waiting in the snow seeking another way. Ever. God doesn’t cheat on us, though we certainly cheat on him. Thankfully.
“Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.” – Psalm 36:5-10 NLT