The past few months have been a wonderful time of parties and catching up with family who live vast distances from us. In April, our son and his wife visited from Myanmar with some friends to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary; June we hosted a friend’s 50th birthday, then it was our grandson’s 1st birthday in Geelong, my 70th weekend of parties in August, and 10 days ago, our daughter and family were here with friends for her 40th birthday. There has been much food, fun and frivolity, but it is rather refreshing to stop and slow down for a while.
During this time many events have taken place, one memorable one being at the end of a long day’s drive, when we turned on the TV only to discover that Australia was about to have a new Prime Minister. However serious a political situation may be, I am always amused that nothing much has changed in the political world since the days of the Old Testament.
In 2 Kings 18:31ff, the people of Judah were subjected to the very smooth spin from Sennacherib of Assyria. “Do not listen to (King) Hezekiah.....make peace with me and come out to me” and so the sweet talk continued. When I read this, I found it very persuasive and I am sure many people were tempted to take up this offer, for like all political spin, there was an element of truth. However, the King and the people had to make a choice – follow the seductive words of Sennacherib or the more difficult words of God.
Trusting in God is not a matter of blind faith. Today we have the Bible available so we can read of the ways God has cared for his people, but head knowledge is only part of the faith process. To me, faith is based on experience, as I can recall many times in my life where God has shown me his care and protection – I may not have always been aware of it at the time - but having those past experiences to recall, gives me encouragement to trust God in the now and the future.
However, I just love reading the Old Testament stories of those who were so faithful in trusting God, no matter what. From an early age, Daniel chapter 3 was one of my favourites, the story of the fiery furnace, and then we have that wonderful acknowledgement from King Darius to Daniel as he faced a night with the lions “May your God whom you faithfully serve, deliver you.”
Not all who are faithful to God are delivered to live ‘happily ever after’, but God calls us to be faithful no matter what. And as we live our life for him, his assurance “I am with you always” is the basis for our faith.