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ADVENT | You Have Established Your Faithfulness

12.01.16 | Women's Focus, Advent | by Jana English

ADVENT | You Have Established Your Faithfulness

    In one of the busiest times of the year, it can be nearly impossible to find time to remain grounded in what the heart of the season of Christmas is. Without adding yet another event or weekly time to attend, we have created an advent study plan that we can all as women join together and look upwards at the glories of the promised King, the incarnation: Jesus Christ. **This study has been organized by the Women's Ministry, however the messages are applicable to everyone!!

    Psalm 89:1-4
    I will sing
    of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
    I will declare
    that your love stands firm forever,
    that you have established
    your faithfulness
    in heaven itself.
    You said,
    "I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    i have sworn to David, my servant,
    'I will establish your line forever.
    and make your throne firm through all generations.' "

    What a beautiful portion of scripture celebrating the might and faithfulness of God! This Psalm has been one of many that have been of great encouragement to me in a recent season in my life where I was mentally walking through a period of darkness and uncertainty; a handful of months where time stretched wide and slow, like taffy pulled end to end, I pressed into the Father, seeking His face and needing to find His faithfulness and firm foundation to cling to.

    This past fall I was diagnosed with a detached retina which unfolded into a handful of  invasive procedures and one further invasive surgery that required a long and tedious recovery. I was required to keep my head down at all times-always horizontally parallel to the earth for two weeks straight immediately following my surgery. I was unable to do little else. Of course at times it got overwhelming and claustrophobic, I felt lonely and isolated, stripped of so much joys of being functioning mom and wife. I felt useless and weak. I knew it would be a season of darkness and refining and I needed to anchor myself to Christ so that I wouldn't drown in self pity and despair.

    This scripture is so assuring! During this difficult time I stuck myself to verses like this, desperate for His voice, His presence, and His Word to be a light through this darkened part of my path.

    I would study scripture after scripture, drawing strength and wisdom, fixing my mind on Him and what His Word says and repeating the process over and over. I am no theologian by any stretch, but I would do my best to break down some of these life giving scriptures to draw as much living drops of water as I could. It is so interesting that in times of joy and contentment, the scriptures are daily wholesome hearty loaves of bread; and then in times of sorrow or trial they mean all the more and become all the more rich and we then recognize how much we need God's Holy Word to sustain us! I am always humbled and thankful for the small seasons of suffering and weakness because it causes His word to shine like jewels before my eyes and a lot of the rest fades into the background.

    In the first few verses of Psalm 89, God's loving kindness and faithfulness are celebrated by the author. These traits were so central to God's character and relationship in dealing with Israel, and continue to speak of the character of God today.  It spoke to me personally of His hesed-my favorite hebrew word, His loving kindness. I could not count the gifts of His generous kindness during this stretching season. Yes, it was hard, but that is not all it was. I was humbled over and over by His gentle hand in caring for me as I waited for healing. Many brought delicious meals. Friends and family offered to help with caring for our children as I couldn't, and Nathan, my husband still had so much work and deadlines to meet. It was these little things that spoke of His personal attention and kindness to me and our family.

    I also liked to stop at the mention of the word faithfulness, in both verses 1 and 2. This proclamation of faithfulness is as He says, "known to all generations." This again, is God speaking to Israel. He says His faithfulness is as "firm as the heavens." He reminds His people of the complete confidence found in God's faithfulness. This stood true for me as well, generations later, reading this scripture amidst a throbbing eye and a real fear that my sight not return to me. This scripture reminded me that although the path is not always easy and there is may not often be a quick fix, but is He faithful and present? Absolutely. What a gift to know He is unwavering and unshakable, even when I feel shaky myself, He is so faithful. He is so good. What a wonderful promise to hold on to.

    This portion in Psalms is such a gift of covenant and promise! The Psalmist is overflowing with confidence in speaking of God's great love that never ceases, His faithfulness that stands the test of time-generations coming and going and still it stands, even His covenant He made with David that still holds fast-forming His lineage through him.

    I enjoyed studying and meditating on this scripture both back in my season of stretching, drawing strength and comfort from these promises of His steadfast faithfulness and loving kindness, and again here and now as we approach the advent season. I pray you may find a few moments to soak this scripture in and be reminded of Him, our Promise Keeper, our Faithful Lord and Savior, and the One who allowed Himself to take the form of babe, in the rich line of David-just as He said He would.  He is faithful.

    ~ Jana English