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Redefining Faithfulness

How do you define God's faithfulness in your own life? Is He faithful because you experienced a breakthrough in something you have been praying or believing for? Is He faithful because of a promise you saw come to pass? Is He faithful because something you really needed came through? I have a scripture thats been hanging up on my wall for almost a year now:

"To proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night." Psalm 92:2

To me, it has been one of the sweetest scriptures hanging beside my bed. I've had a series of consecutive wins over the last few years. Opportunities, provision, open doors and favor that have been nothing short of miraculous. I can say I've seen God's faithfulness. I've seen so much of Romans 8:28 in my life. I've seen God work so many broken and painful things from my past for my good for His glory and divine purposes. Prior years involved so much crying out to God in secret; tears that became intercession and an opportunity to bring my broken dreams and dead ends to God.

I've seen what felt like God's 'no' in one season turn into a 'yes' in a different season. I've seen the 'not yet' turn into 'now' in a different season and I've seen the 'no' to a good thing turn into an opportunity to say 'yes' to a better thing. Singing of God's faithfulness became so easy. Unfortunately, over the years without even realizing it, I began looking more at an outcome as an indicator of God's faithfulness. I am deeply reminded this season how God was with me in my bad even before He worked any of it out for my good. That's an element of faithfulness I forgot. I had narrowed down the definition of faithfulness to manifested plans and answered prayers. I've felt the kind correction by the Holy Spirit on how I've seen Him wrongly lately.

When I saw things happen according to my plan or a manifestation of a past prayer, that became my definition of faithfulness. So singular, self seeking and selfish.

This past Sunday at church, this song played during worship;

"I will sing of all you've done/ I'll remember how far you've carried me."

At some point, without realizing it, I got stuck on the first part and lost sight of the latter lyrics. If he carried me this far it means that He was already with me in that place.The ease of singing of God's faithfulness as result of a verb and not an adjective. Singing of what He has done and forgetting who He always has been for me even when it felt like nothing was being done. Before His manifested action was His unchanging attribute.

I like to process my different seasons and in a place of deep disappointment I began to question what happens when His promises don't look like my plans?

When His will doesn't necessarily fit into my calendar of miraculous events.

Is He still faithful then? What happens when doors close or dreams don't come true. When you have been praying for something with hope and expectancy and you get a clear 'no' from heaven. Is He faithful then?

In the middle of a wilderness season, I have found the Lord inviting me into redefining faithfulness. "All your promises are yes and amen." This is easily one of my favorite worship songs (sorry/not sorry to my roommates, neighbors and anyone else who had to listen to me inharmoniously belt out this tune) Recently, I began to hear a reminder from the Lord, "My faithfulness is not just what I've done for you. My faithfulness is who I am."

The God that never leaves.

One of the most important promises of God, is not in having that thriving career, awesome friendships, perfect family dynamic, financial favor, or a godly marriage, though those are all great. It's that God is always with us in every season even when we don't experience these things.There is a real danger in attributing God's faithfulness to a specific outcome.

When the outcome we desire no longer comes, we will be tempted to doubt God's faithfulness, waver in our belief of His goodness and condemn ourselves by believing that we possibly did something wrong and that's why He isn't being faithful.

David had an understanding of faithfulness. David could sing of God's faithfulness not because he won every battle, never suffered loss, defeat of failure. David had seasons of hiding out in caves for fear of his life and mountain top seasons where other's sang songs of praise for who he was and won major battles (2 Samuel 8). He had times of great failure as king, lost a child even after praying and praying for a different outcome from God (2 Samuel 12) and moments when the men of Israel talked of stoning David because they had lost everything (1 Samuel 30:1-6).

If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.Psalm 139:8

That's faithfulness. That no matter the season, what we are going through, God is with us.

David could be called a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:4) but if David had attributed God's faithfulness to just what God could do for him,through titles, opportunities and plunder he could just have easily been called a man after what was in God's hand.

It's not solely about what is in His hand to give us that makes Him faithful. It's that in every season, He is still there, whether He is holding us up even when we can't feel it, whether His hand pushing us forward, pulling us or carrying us in different seasons.

As I redefine God's faithfulness in my own life, I feel so much of my confidence in Him shifting and I am able to recognize and experience the presence of God in my every situation and season. The fact that in every joy and disappointment He is still there is good enough for me. My confidence is in who His Word says He is, that through good and bad, He

will never leave me nor forsake me. That He is with me when everything appears to be going right and He is still with me even when everything seems to be falling apart. He will be with me. He is faithful to me. He remains loyal. He stays steadfast.

These are things I'm learning to say over and over until my mind and heart catch up to what the Spirit knows to be truth. God's faithful, God's faithful, God's faithful.

Even when His good and perfect will doesn't look like my perfectly calculated way.

He is faithful to never leave nor forsake me. Whether I am on the mountaintop singing of a promise that came true and when I am in the valley weeping about a prayer that feels unfulfilled. He is faithful to be there, to listen, to comfort, to encourage, to guide and to carry me as we go through the waters. My confidence is that because of God's faithfulness, steadfastness and unchanging nature, I will never walk alone.

He is there when you are crushed in spirit and He is there to pick you up when all your dreams and plans fill broken. We can call on the Lord and He comes, even when how He comes isn't in the way we thought He should. He is ever present and always available. The God of Israel that neither sleeps nor slumbers (Psalm 121:4). That's what makes Him faithful, not just for what He can do for us but that he is always with us. He is steadfast in affection towards His children. This is our assurance. We as his followers are His children.

We get to rest in Him even in dry seasons knowing that our fulfillment isn't in the pasture He leads us into but the fact that He, the Good Shepherd never abandons His sheep.

I can't wait to see all the things God presents before me as I follow Christ, or the goodness and mercy that will follow me on the journey, but more than anything I get from His hand, I'm so grateful just for His hand and His presence are always there. When all my dreams, plans and prayers become a reality and even when they don't.

More scriptures:

Psalm 116:2

Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Deuteronomy 31:6 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Isaiah 118:4-7

Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

Psalm 121:2-4

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to [a]be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

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