God is focused on being faithful to us

March 19, 2021

2 Samuel 7:4,8-16  | Romans 4:13-18 | Luke 2:41-52 | Psalm 89:1-29 or 89:1-4, 26-29

For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever;
you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.

Psalm 89:2

In our Adult Faith Formation classes, we are frequently asked to read a passage of scripture and share what words jump out at us and why they resonate. In today’s reading from Psalm 89, God’s faithfulness jumped out at me. God’s faithfulness is mentioned five times, and our faithfulness only once. That got me thinking about how in my own life, that proportion is inverted.

I spend a lot of energy and emotion on my own faithfulness, or to be more accurate, lack thereof. I focus a lot on how I have failed to be faithful to God “in thought, word and deed. By what I have done, and what I have left undone.” My doubts and my failings are always before me on the daily “Me Show”. If I just had the faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, I could move mountains. If I just believe in Him, I will have eternal life. If I had enough faith, all I would need to do is touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and I would be healed. If I could just do better, I would at least have a small chance of being worthy enough for God to bother.

Rodney Ayers’ Lenten blog from this past Sunday really resonated with me. That powerful shorthand “John 3:16” is as ubiquitous on the landscape and in the psyche of our country’s south as live oaks, Friday night football and Dairy Queen. Bundled in with that beautiful message that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” is the corollary that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. And the terrifying inverse conclusion (and a bully stick too often wielded) that if you don’t (or somehow can’t) believe, well…then you perish, you don’t get eternal life.

Yet I don’t think this is what God is really focused on. God is focused on being faithful to us, and He does not modulate His faithfulness to the intensity of ours. God does not waver as we do. God is busy being God, and He does not need our help to make Him love us any more or certainly not any less…thank you very much. The story of God’s faithfulness to us arcs across the scriptures. And it rings loud in today’s psalm reading. God has established His love forever, and He has set His faithfulness firmly in the heavens. I am persuaded of this. And tomorrow I will be persuaded of this again.

Gary Schweizer