Recently, a sister was presenting the idea of Father being “faithful and true” to the church. She asked for examples in their lives of when that aspect of God has been very evident in their lives. Examples given included times of miraculous provision, protection, and healing. This sister then explained that while all of those examples were wonderful blessings that The Lord provided, it wasn’t truly capturing a full definition of being “faithful and true.” The way she drove this point home was with this question: If He had not done all of those things for you (provision, healing, etc), would He still be Faithful and True. The church agreed that even if He had not done the miraculous intervention, he would still be perfectly “faithful and true.”
I could tell that I had a very loose grasp on what she was saying, but as I’ve thought about it I think Dad gave me a part of this concept. If He is faithful and true to me, then that means that he is also faithful and true to the rest of his people. As such, He knows that if we are truly “joined and jointed’ like a body is, then that means He knows how each part is supposed to fit together. Part of that shaping is difficult circumstances and trails that we go through. As we know from scripture and just life in general, trials grow and change and mold and develop our character. In other words, difficult times shape us. Because he is not just faithful to me, but he is also faithful to those around me, he will be faithful and true to them by ensuring that I develop into the person that I am supposed to become. What this means is that if He knows that in my future the people around me will need to have and example of someone who knows about long suffering, then he will be faithful and true to provide me with those experiences to make me into the person that the others in the body will need. Does this make sense? Perhaps an example will help:
Lets say that I am struggling with apathy towards The Lord and things of eternal value. As such, I pray for these feelings to change and they don’t, and I have to deal with them and work through them. From a me-centered perspective, The Lord was not being faithful and true to me to answer my prayers. However, from His perspective, he IS being faithful and true to the church as a whole because His end goal is to have a functioning and healthy Bride. I can imagine Him saying “son it seems like I’m not being faithful, but really I am, I’m being faithful to the bigger goal I have, and you don’t fully see it now, but trust me, I know what I’m doing.” Continuing the example, 6 months from now I’m with a group of people who are dealing with apathy towards The Lord, and because it he didn’t respond to my prayer the way I wanted him to, I will be better equipped to help them in their struggles.
As my walk has progressed, I pray less and less for circumstances and instead pray more for personal character development through those circumstances. When I am sick, I pray less for actual physical healing, and more for my spirit to be renewed through the illness.
Perhaps my prayers should change again: instead of praying for personal character change and growth, perhaps I will pray more like this: Jesus, as much as possible on my end, let this difficult circumstance be used for the benefit of the rest of your Body. Let me die so that others might live.
Just some thoughts. What do you think?