God’s Proven Faithfulness

I know most people think they know everything when they’re young, but y’all, I REALLY thought I knew everything.

My experiences as a teenager formed a faith and worldview that was very black and white; there was no room for gray. Everything was right or wrong. Logic over emotions. I always knew best because the “right” way to do things seemed clear to me.

In my walk with God, I grew to believe that if I did the right things, if I avoided the really bad sins, good things would happen to me. And more importantly, the bad things wouldn’t. 

Seems simple enough, right?

Anyone who has been on this earth for a few years knows that this construct will only hold up for so long. I held tightly to this transactional view of the world for years, even finding a sense of security in it due to the false assumption that it gave me some control over what was happening in my life.

Slowly but surely, experiences in my life started poking holes in my worldview during my college years: seeing the conditions of the orphans I visited in Nigeria, my cousin taking her own life at 25, learning about persecuted Christians in other parts of the world.  These occurrences started causing the anxiety to creep in and attempt to plug the holes that were quickly multiplying. My logical brain simply couldn’t make sense of why those bad things were happening to good people.

Then it all came crashing down when divorce became a part of my story at 23.

How could I trust a God who would let these awful things happen? I had claimed God’s unwavering faithfulness and goodness since I was a toddler running around a church sanctuary every Sunday after service. I had accepted Jesus at seven years old. I had done my best to be the good, Christian girl I was expected to be. How was any of this fair? 

Here’s the thing, though. It was really easy to trust in God’s faithfulness when things were good, especially when they were going the way I thought they should. I naively thought that I somehow deserved the blessings, as if God’s faithfulness could be boiled down to the amount of time I spent praying, reading my Bible, and serving other people. I felt like the good things in my life were a result of my performance—a reward, even. But it wasn’t my life up until my early twenties that helped me learn the depth of God’s faithfulness.

It was my suffering.

It was being completely broken and recognizing, for the first time, my need for Him. It was having the illusion of control ripped from my fingers and feeling overwhelming pain and loss in ways I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to recover from.

That was the place I experienced God’s faithfulness because He met me there—down in my pit of despair. He gently showed me my own sin and the ways I had put Him in a box. More than anything, I experienced God’s promises spoken thousands of years ago coming true in my own life. 

God didn’t prove His faithfulness by fixing all of the hard things in my life and making everything okay. He proved it by making His presence more real to me than ever in my time of need. He changed my heart in ways I was too prideful to notice I needed, and I was able to experience His peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Even in the midst of my messy and unfinished story, I felt His nearness, His pursuit of me, and His provision. As I clung to His Word as a lifeline that season, it was as if He was breathing new life into the scriptures I had read my entire life: 

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalm 91:4).

Just like the verses said, I could feel His covering over my life and His new mercies each morning. I could also see how He truly never left me and would continue to guide me on whatever path my life ended up taking next.

In that season of suffering, I realized that God’s faithfulness wasn’t tied to one ending that my limited mind thought was the right one. A walk of faith isn’t black and white. It isn’t a calculated formula or scientific proof. God didn’t have to repair all of the brokenness in my life to be good. 

He simply is.

That’s His character. His faithfulness is promised to us no matter how many times we turn away, claim to know better, or lead lives full of self-sufficiency. For me, His faithfulness didn’t look like preventing the hard things from happening or giving me everything I wanted. It looked like God being in the pit with me. It looked like Him using the fire to refine me and make me stronger. Most of all, it looked like a Father calling His daughter into His arms, giving her a new identity as she was transformed by His unconditional love.

A decade later, I now have the gift of that season of suffering. Yes, you read that right—it is a gift. When I begin to doubt His promises (as my human heart is sure to do again), I can look back and remember what He did. I can point to specific instances of His faithfulness in my life, and those remembrances can bring me back from the ledge and into the truth of His proven character. 

Where can you see God’s faithfulness in your own story? The pressures and brokenness of the world may try to continually convince you otherwise, but no one can take your story from you or your experiences of God’s faithfulness throughout your life. Cling to it when the trials and suffering comes, and celebrate it with gratitude in the seasons of plenty. 

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

—Written by
Stephanie Teague. Used by permission from the author.