9 - God is Faithful
The love of God, agapē love, is so powerful that when we refuse to fear and instead believe God, he can even part oceans if that's what it takes to make a way for us to escape. So how do we get to the place where we can believe God to see such things? One aspect of the word that will inspire us to live without fear is to know that God will never leave us or forsake us. He didn't leave or forsake Moses and the children of Israel on the shores of the Red Sea, and he promises to never leave us or forsake us either. Look what he said to Joshua after Moses' death.
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Just as he was always there for Moses and Joshua, he will always be there for us. I've proven this time and time again. God has always been there for me. He is always there when I need him. He always has the answers. He's amazing. The more I see his faithfulness, the more I learn to trust him. The more I learn to trust him, the more I see his faithfulness in my life. It's a beautiful cycle.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
A few synonyms for faithful are loyal, true, constant, and trustworthy. Our God is loyal, he's true, he's constant, and he's trustworthy.
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
So what does God's faithfulness mean to us today? Are there any benefits to this? Well, here's one.
1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer [allow] you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
With the temptation can be understood as in close proximity with the temptation. What this means is that along with every challenge in life, God will provide a way to escape that will not be far away. When the children of Israel looked for a way to escape pharaoh's army on the shores of the Red Sea, their escape route was right beside their feet. If we believe God and look for the ways to escape when we need them, they will be there. It doesn't matter if there is an ocean in the way. God can even part the sea if that's what it takes.
However, if people don't know there is a way to escape they won't look for it, and so the god of this world steals, kills, and destroys despite the ways to escape being there. That's one reason the devil buries the word under flashy layers of television, computer games, magazines, and movies, keeping folks mesmerised with his witchcrafts, away from the true light that would expose him.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:
If we neglect God and his word, we will not see the ways he makes for us to escape. If we know God's word and look for his deliverance, it will always be there. You can trust that, because God is faithful, he is trustworthy. Look at this promise.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Storms in life take many forms, such as health, finances, relationships, and business, but in all these things God is our refuge. When we look to him, when we trust in him, he will deliver us; the way to escape will be there.
I've lost count of how many times I've proven God's faithfulness in my life. I was out in the Castle grounds in Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides, with a couple of men from the sawmill. Our job that morning was to cut down a pine tree overhanging a single track road which was becoming a menace to drivers. We closed off the road and one of the guys surveyed the tree. It had grown out of a steep bank at an angle, then curved sharply upwards, a bit like a banana, only it had heavy branches jutting out everywhere. It wasn't a small tree either, with a trunk perhaps 4ft thick. I stood up on the grassy bank behind the tree where I thought it was safe.
The chainsaw roared into life, and woodchips and dust filled the air. With two large wedges sliced out of the trunk, the tree showed no signs of going anywhere. After a short discussion, the chainsaw bit into the bark again. Suddenly there was a loud crack. We had all expected the tree to just fall down on the road. But it didn't. Instead, the banana shaped trunk rolled on the bank, the trunk swung up into the air, and the whole tree rolled over towards me. The guys shouted and jumped for cover. Life went into slow motion and I instinctively jumped backwards. The trunk crunched into the bank, the tree rolled down the grassy slope to the road, branches cracking like fireworks, and then everything went very quiet.
The guys stared at me in shock. They thought my legs had been crushed. I could see it in their eyes. When I got to my feet and brushed myself down, their shock turned to astonishment. With much head scratching, they paced out where I'd been standing and where I'd been lying when the tree hit the bank, and it was around 10 ft. No one can jump 10ft backwards from a standing position. I must admit, I had felt like I'd been floating through the air when life had gone into slow motion. God is faithful to his word, and when we apply the principles he will always be there for us.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
It was the late 70s, and I was in London. The two guys I'd been renting a home with had left and gone home, leaving me a note filled with excuses, as well as all the bills. The rent was due the following day. The landlord was sympathetic, but wanted me out if I couldn't afford the whole rent. So, I paid him my share, paid what I could of the bills, and he used our rent deposit to cover the rest. I was homeless on the streets of London in december, a day before the holidays.
I had a huge suitcase which was too heavy to carry far. When I got home from work the following day, I packed, and without knowing where I was going, headed down the road towards the underground. I didn't make it. The suitcase was too heavy. As I sat on it by the side of the road watching traffic rumble by, I wondered what I was going to do. It was already getting dark, and I didn't have any money left after paying the rent and bills. Could God get me out of this?
There was a gate into a hostel of some kind behind me. It occurred to me to go in and ask them for help. The place was quiet and dark, but someone answered the door when I rang. I explained my situation, and the guy listened. Everyone staying in the hostel had just left for the christmas holidays, and the place was empty for two weeks. I could have a room until the new year, but I had to be out before the students returned. Soon, I was relaxing in a comfortable room that cost me nothing, and I had two weeks to sort things out. Can God meet all our need? Oh yes, it's not hard for him at all.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Lorraine and I were driving from Aberdeen to Inverness. Conditions were good, and there wasn't much traffic. We were cruising comfortably, when a line of traffic approached. Without warning, a car suddenly pulled out from the line of traffic to overtake and sped towards us. We were just yards apart, an instant away from a head on high speed smash.
It all happened so fast that my foot never even left the accelerator. I yanked the steering wheel left, then right, and we were back on the main road, the suicide car behind us. Lorraine had been reading a book and hadn't seen what had happened. She looked up at me curiously, with questions in her eyes. The overtaking car pulled in and sped off. Suicide? Death wish? I don't know.
Now don't get me wrong here, this was a narrow road, and there wasn't room for three cars. There was no verge, and there was a high bank on each side of the road. I hadn't even noticed the lay-by, but I could see it now in the mirror. My wheels must have clipped the verges of the lay-by going in and coming out again. It was just long enough to avoid that head on smash, and was perfectly placed so I could swerve in and out. A way to escape? Decades earlier, when that road had been built, God had worked in a road planning department to build a lay-by there, just for me, knowing I was going to need it years later. Don't ask me how he does it, I just know he does. Is anything too hard for God?
Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
I'm unloading lorries at Makro in Bristol. These huge articulated trucks reverse up to the loading bays behind the warehouse, and then it's in with the forklifts to get them unloaded. One of my jobs was to guide the lorry drivers back by beckoning with an arm from the loading bay. I knew something was wrong, because I was feeling sick inside. I'm hanging out the bay, keeping an eye on the driver in his mirror, letting him know there was still a couple of feet to go.
I don't know what happened next. Perhaps his foot slipped off the clutch or something, I'm not a lorry driver, but the lorry suddenly leapt backwards and clattered into the loading bay walls.
I stood there a little bewildered. A moment earlier, I'd been hanging out the loading bay doors, giving hand signals to the driver in his mirror. Then the lorry had smacked the walls of the warehouse where my head had been, and I was mysteriously standing back from the loading bay doors. A few of the lads looked over curiously, wondering what the noise was. Had I not been snatched back out of harm's way, my head would have been crushed like an egg. Can God keep us safe?
Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
We were on a deserted runway at night. It was winter, it was dark, it was freezing, and it was raining. British airways had simply dumped all our army kit out the back door of the aircraft onto the tarmac and pissed off. The dark mound of bergens was huge. I glanced over at the warm coaches and my heart sank. How was I going to find my bergen among that lot? I'd be soaked and frozen long before I got on the coaches.
A pile of bodies leapt onto the mountain and started hauling bergens off in a frenzied attempt to find their kit and get onto the warm coaches out of the freezing rain. Something dark and heavy thudded at my feet. No, it couldn't be. It was impossible. I didn't even look down to check. Curiosity got the better of me. It was my bergen and it was sitting on my toes. I was one of the first guys onto the buses. Does God make a difference in life?
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
It was dark. So dark, you would think it was the jungle. You hear folks talk about dark, but this was dark. I passed my hand in front of my face and saw nothing. We were Scottish paras returning from a military exercise, and were trying to find our camp in the forest. The only way to move was to hold onto the bergen of the guy in front and feel your way forward with your feet. I'd never experienced darkness like that before.
The guy in front of me started climbing. Not gentle climbing, like going up stairs, but steep climbing, like searching for something to hold onto to pull yourself up. I couldn't recall such a steep climb leaving camp. Then he disappeared. I felt all around but he was gone. I found the slim trunk of a small tree off to my right and held onto it while I pondered my situation. I could hear sounds below me. I was about to use the tree to pull myself up, when suddenly a torch flicked on below me, just for a moment, and then it went pitch dark again.
This might not sound like a world shattering event, but I can assure you that soldiers on exercise at night, especially well trained soldiers like the airborne, do not shine torches at night. Light at night can get you killed. However, in that split second, a light came on and I saw my situation. That tree I was holding onto was growing out of the top of a small cliff face. If I'd hauled myself over it, I would have gone straight down 20 ft onto the rocks at the bottom. Can God give you light in darkness?
Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
I'd been testing what I thought would be the final run through of a custom Tomb Raider game I'd been designing and building called Jurassic Park, when random textures suddenly started stretching across the screen. Over the next few days I tried everything I knew to fix it. On one test, I reached the final area and thought the problem was gone when it showed itself again. I was getting tired. I'd done my best and didn't know what else to try.
Then I recalled the power of God. Okay, let's see if this works on computer games. I removed one small item from the map, asked God to heal my level in the name of Jesus Christ, and spoke in tongues. Next time I tested the level, it worked flawlessly. The texture stretching problem was gone and never returned. Can we use the power of God to heal Tomb Raider games? Absolutely.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
We were gold panning in the Highlands, and I was working around and under a huge lump of bedrock sticking out of the riverbank. After a while, Tina moved downstream. The only reason I'd been working around that bedrock was so she could get into a hole I thought would be easier and more productive for her. She seemed happy enough in her new spot, and I felt an urge to move my kit downstream and work that original hole. So I did.
Not long afterwards, there was a huge splash and heavy crunching as that lump of bedrock dislodged from the bank and fell into the river. My goodness, it had been a huge boulder. If I'd been working under it when it fell in, I'd have been crushed and drowned. My mate was okay too. It had fallen just inches from him and nudged his toe as it settled on the bottom. Does God watch our backs?
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
I always take care to ensure no pieces of egg shell ever get into dad's fried eggs. The two eggs cracked into the pan, and after close inspection they looked just fine. Was about to go do something else, when it occurred to me that the eggs were too close to each other and I should take another look.
The first egg was already turning white, but the second egg was still fresh and runny. I figured it would only take a second to tilt the frying pan and separate them. Well, well, there were three pieces of eggshell tucked under the white of the first egg.
I find stuff like this really hard to comprehend sometimes. I mean, isn't the Creator of the heavens and earth too busy with things like keeping the universe in order to be concerned with silly little things like fried eggs? Obviously not, he enjoys being part of our lives.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
I was out testing a new 70-200mm f/2.8 camera lens that had just arrived in the post, and took a walk along the coast. I knew I should have taken a scarf and a hat, but the weather looked okay so I didn't bother. I was excited about the new lens and didn't take care to wear appropriate clothing.
Geez, it was cold. A biting wind cut through me from the sea. An hour later, I felt my body temperature drop alarmingly and I started shivering. I had to get home. I'd been too wrapped up in my new lens to notice I was going down. Totally out of the blue, the phone rang. It was my mate. Told him I was on the way up to his and to put the kettle on. He jumped in the car and came and picked me up a few minutes later because he wanted to see the new lens. Can God take care of us when we're stupid enough to do silly things?
Like as a father pitieth [cares for] his children, so the LORD pitieth [cares for] them that fear [love and respect] him.
Back in the winter of 2012, Tina and I were driving home in the dark from Dingwall. On the Tain bypass, a car suddenly stopped in the middle of the road and flashed its lights. I checked my lights, but they were fine. The car whacked on its hazard lights and flashed again. It wasn't until we braked hard and pulled into the verge that I noticed the woman lying by the side of the road.
First thought was to get Tina to phone for an ambulance, and then I went to check on the woman. Her mobile phone lay a couple of feet away. She must have tried to phone for help. The first thing I did was check for a pulse. There wasn't one. I checked her arm, checked her wrist, checked her elbow, checked her neck, there was no pulse. As I knelt there, it came to me that she was dead. What do you do? Well, I prayed for her in the name of Jesus Christ.
At that moment I felt a faint click in my finger tips. A pulse, cool. It was slow and barely discernable, but it was there. Tina got a paramedic on the phone and she began relaying instructions. I was to lay the woman on her back. What? That was not what I'd been taught, and I questioned it. Tina insisted. The authority in her voice was unmistakable, so I turned her on her back. Then I was to put a hand on her forehead and tilt her head back with my other hand. What? I'd been taught coma position and clear airways, but again the instruction was authoritative.
As soon as I tilted her head back, her whole body convulsed three or four times, just like you see in the movies when people are given electric shocks. As she convulsed, I kept a good hold on her head, and then I saw she was breathing. Checked her pulse, and it was beating like a bass drum. She sat up just as the police arrived.
Then the world did what it usually does when the power of God is manifested, and carried on as if nothing had happened. The police took the woman home, and Tina and I drove off into the night. I didn't even know who she was. I can only assume she must have prayed before she passed out. Did God make a way for her to escape? Oh yes, he is faithful to his word. Can God still raise the dead? Absolutely.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
Tina and I were off on a photo shoot to Golspie. It was early, around 8.30 am or so, and I planned to head to the harbour first, and then work our way along the shore and perhaps shoot the waterfall later in the day when it was a bit brighter. It's always dark in the gorge by the waterfall.
However, on my way to pick up Tina, it was on my heart to head to the waterfall first. I even mentioned it to Tina that Father was working in me to head to the waterfall first. As we wandered up towards the falls, about half way there, it was on my heart to get there quickly. So that's what we did.
Well, well, it was a perfect combination of time of year and time of day. The leaves were just budding so the sun could peek through the dense lattice of trees towering over the gorge without being blocked by leaves, and the sun was just high enough and in just the right position to poke a few rays down into the gloom. As I walked around the rock face, the sun shone down into the gorge with soft light for just a few moments and lit up the waterfall. Talk about timing. Can God help you with your business?
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance in increased in the land.
Look, there is nothing too hard for God. There is no problem so big, no challenge so insurmountable, no obstacle so impenetrable that it is too big for God. With him as our helper, we can be more than victorious, more than conquerors in every situation.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
I could fill books with stories like these. Just this morning God helped me with a problem. I'd been upgrading my forums to the latest IP Board. I'd uploaded all the files and was running the upgrader, but for some reason I was getting an error message. No matter what I tried, the upgrader refused to run. After an hour or so trying everything I could think of, I asked God to show me what the problem was in the name of Jesus Christ.
I tried the upgrader again, but this time noticed I had an older version of PHP. So I went to my webhost, updated my PHP to version 5.4, and the next time I ran the upgrader I got a different error message - a file couldn't be read because my host had not installed Zend Optimiser. I had no idea what Zend Optimiser was. I'd never even heard of it. Okay, checked with my webhost and discovered that PHP would work fine with Ion Cube files rather than Zend. It would? Cool, off I went to Invision and discovered to my surprise that there was an Ion Cube version of my board software. Downloaded that, uploaded the files, and the upgrader performed flawlessly.
Now, what were the chances of me figuring that out by myself? God showed me how to fix the problem. He talks to me like this all the time. He is real, he exists, he did create the heavens and the earth, he is trustworthy, and he is faithful. I've proved God's word works over and over and over again. I know God is faithful, I know God is trustworthy, and I know he will be just as faithful and trustworthy for you if you dare to believe him. Stick with this class and I will show you how.
Chapter 10 - God is our Protection