I want to lay a bit of groundwork and give a couple of explanations before getting into the meat of my article today: First, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, this is the definition of the word steadfast: 1. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving. synonym: faithful. 2. Fixed or unchanging. 3. Fixed or unmovable. Second, most mornings when I get up, I turn on my CD player & listen to a song from a worship album while making my first cup of coffee and getting things laid out for my morning devotion time. Third, since January 1, I have been reading a daily devotional out of a book given out at my church to help us focus for the first 21 days of the new year.
So, this morning the song that I listened to was entitled Steadfast. Here are some of the words from that song: “When fear like waves are crashing on the shore, steady are your arms within the storm. When the desert never seems to end, you open heaven and the rain begins. Steadfast, your love is never fading, Jesus your mercy never failing, how amazing you are….You are steadfast. Constant is your heart for us, Oh God you are constant. Constant is your grace that overcomes, You’ve overcome.” [Emphasis mine]
Every time I hear that song, I am reminded of how faithful (steadfast) God is – how He is always there watching me, protecting me, blessing me. This morning was no different. Then, I sat down and opened up that book from my church and the scripture the devotional was based on was: “The Lord’s word is true, and he is faithful in everything he does.” (Psalm 33:4 ERV) [Emphasis mine] The fact that the devotional I was about to read was based on the same subject as the song I had just listened to got my attention.
This devotional was written by one of our pastors – Tom Lane. He told a story about something that had happened to him a number of years ago. He was on a ski trip with his wife and a lot of young adults. One of the leaders asked if he and his wife would wait for her so she could ski with them. But, after waiting for her return for a while he grew impatient and moved on without her. He had not carefully weighed the importance of fulfilling a responsibility he had to the other person vs the desire to participate in the fun he had before him. Later in the day this person confronted him about it. “She was hurt and offended by our unfaithfulness to keep our word to wait and ski with her, and she wondered how we could be so casual with our commitments.”
He talked about how his first reaction was to be defensive, but quickly realized he was wrong as his unfaithfulness had been exposed – that it was a hard and embarrassing lesson that helped him learn the importance of one of God’s most important characteristics – faithfulness. He referenced these verses: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Now I want to quote a bit more of what Pastor Lane said: “Being faithful means we are steadfast in affection of allegiance and loyal as a friend. It means we are conscientious and firm in our adherence to promises and responsibilities, both at home and at work.” He continued on, talking about how as Christians, we need to be faithful to God but then added: “And our faithfulness is expressed in the way we treat and respond to others.”
As I finished reading all this and thought about this idea of steadfastness / faithfulness in our lives, it reminded me of something that happened in our family a very long time ago; and, amplified to me how a lack of faithfulness can “injure” someone else.
My ex-husband had bought a small little aluminum fishing boat so that he could take our son fishing and could use it when our son’s boy scout troop went camping. He had promised that the upcoming weekend they would go fishing and our son was SO excited; however, something unexpected came up and they would not be able to go – so he told him they would go soon. Well, it never happened – at all. Nothing was even mentioned about it again.
Flash forward about three years – we were having some issues and decided to go in for some family counseling. When the counselor asked our son what was bothering him, lo and behold, guess what came out of his mouth!? The story about the unfulfilled fishing trip he had been promised that had never happened or even talked about again. He had been so let down, so disappointed about that that he had let the resentment build up until it had created anger issues. That was a hard lesson to learn about the importance of being faithful to do what you say you will do. Disappointing others by failing to follow-through can create problems that maybe neither of you are aware of because they get buried; but, then they eventually come out in negative words and/or behavior.
(Maybe it is not fair of me to tell this story about my ex-husband, when I am certain that I have been guilty of doing the same thing to others. But honestly, that is just the first thing that came to my mind when considering what Pastor Lane had talked about.)
“Forever, O Lord, your Word stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, like the earth you created; it endures by your decree, for everything serves your plans.” (Psalm 119:89-91 TLB)
I believe that we need to strive to be as steadfast toward others, as God is to us. He is always faithful and if we ask for His help in this area of our life, I believe He will guide us to be as constant, loyal, steadfast as He is.
Written by Karran Martin – January 16, 2023