Faith that the Lord is Faithful
The older I get (and I have reached the ripe, old age of 38 now) and the longer I am I in ministry (15 years, which is not that many), the clearer it becomes that there are no simple solutions to real life problems. Just this past week, I have talked to five friends who are in complicated situations that are not easily resolved. One friend, who is helping a family member through a broken relationship, confessed that she is extremely uncomfortable because she isn’t sure what the right course of action is. And she’s right. Even as she prayerfully considers the truth of the gospel from Scripture, there seems to be more than one legitimate way to go, each with major consequences. The right course of action in a broken world is often convoluted and nothing is in our control. It makes me uncomfortable, too.
As I look back on my life, I see that I am part of the mess.
Things would be easier if I could be an objective voice of reason to myself and others. In discussing this very thing, Paul Miller writes, “We are never a passive observer, dispensing wisdom and justice. We are part of the mess.” Because of this, he explains, our solutions to problems often make them more complex, not less. And it’s true. As I look back on my life, I see that I am part of the mess. This can make the right course of action even more convoluted, leading to greater discomfort.
However, just because there are no easy answers in the midst of complicated circumstances, it does not mean that there is no solid ground. There is. As you know, his name is Jesus, and he belongs to you. The One who claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life is those things, not only for salvation, but for every need that arises. And all that he asks is faith – that you put your trust in him, rather than in your circumstances or yourself.
I learned this truth deeply from Dr. Dan Doriani. A couple of years ago, he preached a sermon from Matthew 14 at The Spurgeon Fellowship about Peter walking on the water. I’m sure you know the story. In characteristic fashion, Peter boldly asked to walk on water and, receiving permission, confidently began his trek. Very quickly, however, Peter’s fear overcame him, and he began to sink. Just like us, Peter’s circumstances (which happened to be a literal storm) were out of his control, and Peter himself was part of the mess – his faith was very weak. There was – very literally – no solid ground.
But here’s the good news: Even when your circumstances are beyond your control and your faith fails, Jesus will not fail you. Sinking, but with a bit of faith in Christ, Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” And Jesus did. He reached out his hand and pulled Peter to safety. More than that, when they got back to the boat, the storm stopped. He took care of messy Peter, and he took care of the complicated circumstance. Dr. Doriani said that Jesus looks at our weak faith and says, “I see it, I know your weaknesses, and I love you.” He is faithful when nothing else (including you!) is…and he is personally faithful to you.
Jesus really is and will be all that he promised to be.
Just because you can’t discern the right course of action and even though your solutions often complicate things even further, you don’t need to throw up your hands in cynical despair. Jesus really is and will be all that he promised to be. As you seek him, he will take care of the complicated situation that is out of your control. He will use you in spite of weaknesses to accomplish his purposes. And, in the process, he will continue to conform you to his image until you see his face. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. He cares the most about your life and the lives of those you love. You can trust him. Have faith that he is always faithful.