Though we often use the word “faithful” in religious contexts, there is another context that is used almost as often. That is marriage. More to the point, the antonym of this word is often used in the marriage context, “unfaithful”. And that word can bring some folks to immediate depression and anxiety, so I apologize if that word has negative connotations for you.
Recently I spoke to an individual who was truly suffering because of unfaithfulness. Though this person had never formally committed to any of the relationships, this person noted that every one ended in unfaithfulness. And this fact destroying this person. It’s one thing when boyfriends and girlfriends step out on you because there are no formal commitments. That is frowned upon nevertheless because there is an expectation that a person will be “faithful” as long as they are dating until they break off dating or break up. That is acceptable. But it is unacceptable for a person to go and date another person while they are still dating the first person. That kind of individual gets a reputation. But it can be devastating for the first relationship because there is an assumption of faithfulness.
It gets worse in marriage. And the consequences become even more drastic. In marriage, there is a formal commitment made in front of witnesses. This formal commitment the couple to monogamy, and no others will be allowed in the implied sexual relationship between the two of them. “Unfaithful” is what we call it when that covenant agreement is broken. The consequences then also include separation, divorce, destruction of assets, and children, as well as broken family relationships. It is more widespread and more far-reaching, but obviously, I don’t have to tell some of you that. You’ve lived it.
But it is in this marriage context that we find meaning for “faithful”. I hope you have all been witness to marriage relationships, if not your own, where both husband and wife have been together for decades. It is a good picture of faithfulness because we see that it was not all good. Sometimes faithfulness is hard, even impossible, if not for the bonds of marriage keeping them together. We faithfulness is forged and well-earned, not without effort. Faithfulness sis oftentimes the more difficult path, and one less traveled.
So it is with God. With God, our journey with Him is forged into stronger bonds of trust. As we encounter increasingly difficult terrain, we find our faith tested, and His faithfulness to us returned in answer to our prayers. We find God more faithful, more devoted, more true, but not without effort. We find that the answers to our questions are immediate, but they do come in time. We find the One who promised is faithful and will continue to be faithful, even when it looks like He is not. God never forgets you.
Heavenly Father, today there will be times where it seems You have forgotten me. There will be times I will feels at the end of rope pulled by a sailboat in the dark. I will not see You, just the rope, and I will be forced to trust the rope without seeing the boat to pull me in. There are sometimes Lord when I doubt You are really there, whether You are really listening. But it is at those times I need to still the storm, because it is not all around me, but it is in my soul. And I pray Lord help today to still the storm in me, so that I can clearly see the path before me. Thank You Lord for being faithful. In Your Name I pray, Amen.