God is a perfect example of faithfulness. Many well-meaning people may attempt to exemplify faithfulness, but they can’t hold a candle to God’s perfect, promise-keeping nature. His very name is “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11), and He keeps His word to a “thousand generations” (Psalm 105:8). In fact, Numbers 23:19 says, “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?” Hebrews 6:18 confirms that it’s impossible for Him to lie! With this kind of reputation, we should have no difficulty trusting Him.
Unfortunately, our human nature has a hard time putting full confidence in something – or Someone – we cannot see. We are so led by our five senses that anything out of our physical reach or vision seems impossible. We have been so scarred by examples of unfaithfulness in our life that we don’t want to trust anyone ever again. Even God is added to the list of “do not trust,” and we walk away, disillusioned and hardened.
A lack of trust in God’s faithfulness is not a new flaw. It started in the Garden of Eden when Eve believed a lie from the devil rather than the truth of God’s Word. The distrust continued right up to Jesus’ Resurrection, the most glorious day to those who believe in Jesus!
God expects us to believe His Word, so faithfully He gives us a word to believe. He communicated with His disciples the same, giving them a prophecy of His betrayal, crucifixion, and His resurrection.
“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” (Matthew 20:18-19)
These were attention-grabbing words! To those who followed Him for three years, it meant a disbanding of their group and the loss of Someone they had come to love. Regardless of Who said those words, however, the disciples rejected them. They continued on as usual, marching joyfully through Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, oblivious to what lay ahead of them. From then on, every tragic, yet God-ordained event, took them by surprise. Sadly, the doubt in God’s faithfulness continued right up to the tomb.
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:1-6)
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left behind their mourning friends and prepared to do what any grieving mourners would do – apply spices to Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1). They were prepared, not for a resurrection, but for a corpse, wrapped in burial clothes. They expected guards on site, and a stone inhibiting their entrance. Instead, they found an open tomb and an angel sitting calmly, waiting for their arrival. Within minutes their unbelief in Jesus’ third-day resurrection melted into faith and they quickly left to obey the angel’s orders.
When the two women left to share the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, they were met with further unbelief (Luke 2:11; Mark 16:11, 13). The disciples doubted their words, even though the Jesus’ previous words backed them up! Later, Jesus was gracious enough to give the unbelieving disciples a refresher course concerning everything He had said before about His redemptive acts (Luke 24:44-49). The talks didn’t come without a verbal spanking, however. He rebuked them for their hardness of heart and unbelief, the root of their fear and lack of expectation (Mark 16:14). Sadly, even after this, doubt didn’t completely leave the clan of “disciples.” Even as Jesus stood on the mountain and gave them the great commission, some still doubted (Matthew 28:17).
Unlike God, human nature would have stomped away in disgust after hearing so much unbelief. It would have given up and left all prophecies in the dust because it was too difficult to get support. God, however, cannot lie or change His mind. He has no Plan B. Abortion of a plan is not an option. It might take years of patience as He waits for people to take Him off the “do not trust list.” It may take consistent prodding of His presence and repetition of His Word to soften a person’s hardened heart. Regardless of what it takes, He knows He will find, in time, someone who will believe His Word and act on it.
God’s desire for us is that we be of the believing group and not of the unbelieving. He wants us to believe His Word the first time, followed by expectation that He will do just as He said. He wants us to have confidence in His faithfulness. He wants our faith in Him to go beyond what we can see, reaching for the humanly impossible Resurrection power. To those who believe that Resurrection power, all things are possible (Mark 9:23).
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b)