Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Faithfulness of God and of Us

She was young, beautiful, and healthy and she had a loving husband.
The car accident changed all that. She was in hospital for many months
fighting for her life. She survived finally but as an invalid,
paralysed waste down and limited to her wheelchair. That was the end
of her marriage too as her husband walked away from her life. The
marriage covenant that they made to stick to each other "until death
part us" was broken. It was a test of her husband's faithfulness to
the marriage promise. Marriage is most evidently the area where
faithfulness is tested. Relationship outside marriage where
faithfulness is divided is common these days. However, faithfulness is
indivisible, it is exclusive, whether it is faithfulness in marriage
or in any other areas.

If we search for a perfect example of faithfulness we will arrive at
the biblical image of God as the faithful God. In the Bible, God is
given as the model of faithfulness. God's faithfulness is what we are
expected to follow.
First of all God's faithfulness is not time bound. The Book of
Deuteronomy calls God "the faithful God" and describes him as faithful
to a thousand generations (Deut 7:9). The writer who knew Israel's
history well has already either witnessed or heard about God's
faithfulness for generations beginning with Abraham and all
patriarchs. For that person the history of his people for centuries
has been a history of God's faithfulness that they experienced. He was
sure that this faithfulness would continue.

Secondly, God's faithfulness is not reciprocal; God does not make any
demand from the other party to be faithful. Human faithful is
reciprocal, it operates around the principle, "If you scratch my back,
then I will scratch my back". We cease to be faithful to those who are
unfaithful to us. However, God is different "If we are faithless, He
remains faithful. He can't deny himself" (2 Tim 2:13).

Finally, (though the list is not exhaustive) God is most reliable
(faithful) in the most unreliable circumstances. Saint Peter writing
to the persecuted churches wrote that those who suffer should entrust
their souls to God who is the "faithful creator". God is the only one
a person can trust in the most trying circumstances. The reason for
this trust is that God will never allow us to suffer more than what we
can endure and in every trying circumstances God always made
provisions for exit. Saint Paul says: "No temptation has taken you
except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you
to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation
also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor
10:13). Those who suffer according to the will of God is protected by
a faithful creator.

It may not be possible to follow God's example in all its perfection;
however, it is still the model and inspiration. Faithfulness to
marriage partners need to be undivided and should last until both
partners are alive, not just when they are healthy and prosperous.
Faithfulness to each other (spouses, friends, colleagues, etc) should
survive beyond the difficult times in the life of one person. All of
us need to strive to be faithful, even when faithfulness is not
reciprocated. God will do that, God expects us to do that.

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