God's Faithfulness

By Jill Briscoe

A friend of mine has just died of cancer.  Shortly after she was diagnosed, I spent a day with her.  She was such a wonderful lady.  She was emotional and relational in personality.  She kept saying, “Jill, I can’t feel him near me anymore.  All my life I’ve been able to feel him near me, but now, just when I need him the most, he’s not there!”

At this point, my friend found out that, like Job, she had a clear choice.  As Warren Wiersbe says, she “could ‘curse God and die’ or ‘trust God and grow’!”  Grow how? Grow in the area of her faith.  She was to learn that when she couldn’t feel God with her feelings, she could feel him with her faith – and that felt different!  The “feelings” of faith are feelings of knowledge – or “knowingness”.  The Holy Spirit, after all, doesn’t come into our lives to do his deepest work in the shallowest part of us – our emotions.  But rather he comes into our lives to do his deepest work in the deepest part of us – our knowings.

And that’s the test that suffering brings.  God doesn’t test our feelings for him, but rather our faith in him.  He tests our trust!

At the end of Psalm 139, David prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart:  test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  He knows that God knows everything about him.  After all, God has created him – knitting him intricately together in his mother’s womb.  He believes that God sees his thoughts even before he, David, gets around to thinking them!  So he opens up his life before God, acknowledging that God knows everything, and asks God to show him if there is any “offensive way” in him.  “You can see my anxious thoughts, Oh God,” he says.  “Do these offend you?”  Why would our anxious thoughts offend God?  Perhaps because God expects us to trust him with our anxieties, to believe in His faithfulness.

God doesn’t worry – but if he did, he would possibly worry about our worrying!  He wants us to stop being anxious.  He has promised to supply our needs.  When our feelings grow anxious, our faith can calm our fears.  We have a decision to make.  Do we believe in God's faithfulness? God wanted Job to say, “I know you are there – even though, at this time, my feelings deny your very existence.  I feel so desolate.”  Our feelings about God can get in the way of our knowledge of him.  We can begin to believe he isn’t there at all, simply because we can’t sense His presence.

Yet, if by faith we can affirm what we know deep down in our souls, this will calm many of our frantic fears and bring the tranquility of order to our confusion.