No.62. Thanksgiving, the answer to panic!

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No.62. Thanksgiving, the answer to panic!

I was recently pondering on the word ‘faithful’ and thinking that unlike wonderful, by which we mean that something is ‘full’ of wonder, ‘faithful’ does not mean full of faith but ‘one who is loyal and constant to their word’ (according to the Oxford dictionary). It derives from the idea that someone who is faithful is someone who always acts in ‘good faith’, and so they are trustworthy.

Faithfulness is not always highly valued as something to aspire to in todays society, whether that is on the political scene or in commerce and finance, or even in intimate relationships. There are so many examples of broken promises all around us that the ability to trust has also been eroded. It is hard to have confidence in a person’s promises unless we know them very well. The expression, ‘I give you my word…….’ Is no longer enough; that is unless God says it!!

The truth is that God, unlike any human being, is entirely and totally faithful to us at all times. He is unchangeable James 1:17, and rock solid in His commitment to us to do us good. He is always constant to His word and therefore totally trustworthy, totally ‘faithful’. As I was thinking around God’s faithfulness, I felt that He was saying to me ‘You can be ‘full of faith’ because I AM ‘faithful’. God will never let me down, never break a promise, He will never fail to keep His word, and my being ‘full of faith’ depends on my seeing that He is completely ‘faithful’.

So how does all this word play help me in my times of panic? Well feeling anxious and panicky is quite  common, when we feel that life is a getting out of control, or when we feel threatened by a situation in which we don’t appear to have the resources to cope. Looking at the problem, the giant, and trying to work out how we can defeat it, can make the problem worse, increasing our feeling of powerlessness.

If we look at David’s reaction to Goliath we can see why he was ‘full of faith’ as opposed to the members of Saul’s army and the other soldiers who were ‘dismayed and terrified’ 1Samuel 17:10. In modern parlance they were panicking. David’s reaction on hearing Goliath shout out his challenge was “who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

He was rebuked for being conceited and wicked; his brothers and others thought he was cocky and totally unrealistic, as did Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:43. David however had a clear rational for his claim that he could take on Goliath and win. He said to Saul “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine”. In other words “I can do this because my God won’t fail me, He is faithful”.

His speech to Goliath was also quite staggering for a young man who’d just come to deliver sandwiches to his brothers. He says to him, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied……. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands’. 1 Samuel 17:45-47.

He recognised that naturally speaking neither he nor anyone else had the resources, skill or strength to anywhere near match those of Goliath, but he wasn’t looking at his own resources, he was looking at the resources of his ‘faithful’ God, and because he was looking at His ‘faithful’ God, he was ‘full of faith’.

In these days where many aspects of life seem to be ‘out of our control’, if we are to stay ‘full of faith’ in the face of the challenges that life throws at us, we need to really ‘see’ who God wants to be for us, and meditate on His faithfulness. I believe a huge way to stay focused on the faithfulness of God, and not the size of the problems coming against us, is to be very very thankful for every deliverance we have known.

Keeping a written record of the interventions of God in our lives can really help us to not feel afraid when a new situation arises to challenge us. If we can remember the lion and the bear incidents with thanksgiving, when the next giant comes along we will have ‘history with God’ that we can pull on. We can take our eyes off of the size of the mountain, and off of our own meager resources and, by focusing on His faithfulness, we will be ‘full of faith’ to see Him show Himself strong on our behalf, as He did for David.


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