Odd, isn’t it, how you can read something in the Bible a dozen times, and then, all of a sudden when you read it again, it grabs your heart and twists it painfully?
The other morning I read in 2 Timothy 2:13:
If we are unfaithful,
God remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.
Unfaithful has a terrible sound to it. It carries with it tarnished images. . . . A husband betrays his wife, when he promised before God to love her “as long as we both shall live.” . . . A financial manager absconds with the life savings of people who trusted him. . . . A lifelong friend doesn’t defend his friend when a scurrilous story is whispered about him.
As I sat there with the Scriptures open before me that morning, I wondered if I have been unfaithful to the Holy God who has been so faithful to me. Not in the usual sense of the word, I thought. I haven’t driven drunk and fled from the scene of an accident. I haven’t broken my marriage vows. I haven’t stolen money from friends who entrusted their savings to me.
But yes, I had to admit, I have been unfaithful. Recently I asked the Lord for something I thought I urgently needed. I talked to Him about it often, with deep sincerity. I waited for a whole week, and God did absolutely nothing about it, nothing! Well, at least, He did nothing that I could see. So I began to doubt His kindness. I wondered if He were really listening, like He’d promised. Doubts tumbled through my mind.
Yes, I was, God forgive me, unfaithful to Him.
So how did God pay me back for my unfaithfulness? He kept right on being the faithful, loving and wise God He has always been! He kept sending beautiful sunshine and rain. He kept providing every human comfort, a home, food, clothes, rest at night in safety. He kept bringing dear friends to my door, sharing their love and encouraging words. And His Holy Spirit kept leading me. He was faithful to me in spite of my unfaithfulness.
Why would the Eternal God put up with such ingratitude, such faithlessness? Because, He says in the Scriptures, He has to be true to Himself. The core of His being is faithfulness, fairness, truth, loving kindness. There are some things God Himself cannot do, His Word says. He is the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, but He cannot lie (Num. 23:19). He covenanted with Jesus to pay for our sin, because He cannot ignore sin. ( Isaiah 1:13). And He cannot deny His eternal qualities of righteousness and justice and faithfulness! So, He assures us, in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself.” Thank God, His faithfulness to His unfaithful children will last even into eternity!
So why didn’t He answer my prayer like I thought He should? Because He is faithful, and He decides exactly what is best for me.
Faithful every day. Faithful every moment. Faithful in spite of our doubts and questions. Our God is faithful. He cannot deny Himself.
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford