This is the sixth post in our blog series by Karis Women on Galatians 5:22, check out the rest of the series here.
As the mammoth ship was sinking into the bone chilling North-Atlantic waters that dark and fateful night, distress rockets exploded into the sky. The sounds of pandemonium and sheer terror could be heard over the buckling, twisting steel. In the midst of chaos, a troupe of eight men began to play a serene, unearthly melody. Giving up their places in the lifeboats, these musicians played faithfully until their untimely end. The sweet, soft sounds could be heard in the distance; echoing on the cold, unforgiving waters.
The song that they were playing in those last hours no one knows for sure, but it has been rumored throughout the years that the song the musicians were playing was the song, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” This last April the 12th, will mark 104 years since that inauspicious night, when the Titanic sank into the Atlantic, killing over one thousand passengers.
Those musicians have mystified historians for the past century. Why did they do it? What was going on in their minds? How could they continue to play in the face of certain death?
The account of these men’s last hours on earth serves as a picture of what it looks like to be faithful, in the midst of seeming futility. So many times we find ourselves in situations that are dim, and seem completely hopeless. Our circumstances may not be a sinking ship into frozen waters, but they may be the loss of a loved one, a battle with cancer, or feeling the weight of our bodies getting older and falling apart. There may not be people crying out in terror as they sink to their watery graves, but there are people in our lives that we have prayed for & shared the Gospel with countless times and they never seem to change. We may not be facing certain death at this moment, but we may have witnessed the death of our dreams, the death of what we thought our lives should look like. Day to day our circumstances feel like waves that threaten to drown us in sorrow and cause us to look away from our Savior, and down into the swirling abyss. We often let the circumstances in our lives be the rudder of our ship, steering us forward, instead of trust in God’s promises.
We are so often faithless, but the good news is that God is faithful in the midst of our faithlessness. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself,” ( 2 Timothy 2:13). God is unwavering in his commitment to his people and to keeping his promises. Throughout the Bible we can see manifestations of God’s faithfulness time and time again to an unfaithful people.
So how can we be faithful to God in the midst of turmoil, and trouble? How can we have an unwavering, unflinching trust in God?
1. Ask & Seek
The Greek word for faithfulness in the Bible literally means “being full of faith.” It means being reliable, steadfast, unwavering, not wishy-washy or fickle. God imparts this gift of faith through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and through the hearing of God’s Word, " So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ," (Rom. 10:17). So if we we are to completely dependent on God to open our eyes of faith, then our prayer should be like the the man who cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). Our time should be spent reading and preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily, because God works on hearts by the power of his Spirit and through his Word. God’s Word is our light when we find ourselves in dark, distant waters. his Spirit will be our bravery when all is falling apart.
2. Remember & Remind
When we intentionally look back on our lives and reflect on what God has done we can say, " The LORD’S loving-kindnesses indeed never cease, For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness," (Lam. 3:22-23). The tossing waves won’t threaten as much as they did, when we know that our God is bigger than the depths of the oceans. Our circumstances will seem trivial in the light of eternity. Let us daily choose to remember how God has been faithful, and let that embolden us to keep playing a beautiful tune to the glory of God in the midst of trouble and travail.
Not only do we need to remind ourselves of what God has done, but we need to tell others of his faithfulness. The Apostle Paul wrote in Heb. 3:12-13 , “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Telling others of what God has done in our lives protects them from the enemy’s lies, and from doubting God’s promises. We need to hear stories of God’s faithfulness daily, and so do our brothers and sisters. We, like the eight men who played unto their deaths on that night so long ago, need others to stand with us, to play the song of God’s faithfulness into the long night.
3. Surrender & Abide
The fruit of faithfulness that we bear, is not the fruit of “us” or our works, but it is the result of the Spirit’s work in us. If you are in Christ, you are like clay in the potter’s hand, and he is the one molding and shaping you in his image, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” (Eph. 2:10). When we abide, or remain in unbroken relationship with God, seeking to know him, to be like him, surrendering to his work in our lives, we will bear the fruit of faithfulness in due time. We can only do this by God’s keeping power. We can take comfort in the fact that God is steadfast in his commitment to sustain us, “The Lord will sustain (keep) you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” (1 Cor. 1:8-9.8).
4. Repent & Obey
When the Titanic hit the gargantuan iceberg that would inevitably sink the “unsinkable ship,” it was midnight and many of the passengers were asleep. Like the passengers on that luxurious yet ill-fated ship, many times we too have fallen asleep. We have gotten comfortable and lost the urgency in following Jesus. Too often we have given our allegiance to idols of comfort, control, approval, & power. Let’s heed this stark warning Jesus gave to the church in Sardis, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you,” (Rev. 3:2-3).
Jesus’ words here are startling and may even seem harsh towards the church in Sardis, but when he called his people to follow him, he told them to do so by taking up their cross daily. Let’s search our hearts and ask the Lord to show us the sins we are clinging to. If we find we have been faithless, then let’s repent and turn back to following Christ with all our might. We can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can know that God’s grace is sufficient for us and his power is made perfect in our weakness, (2 Cor. 12:9). We can be confident that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). Whichever comes first, Christ’s return or our last breath, let us be found faithful, by God’s grace & the Holy Spirit’s power. Let’s be on our guard and repenting from sin daily.
In those last hours, as the Titanic was submerging deeper and deeper into the dark waters, we can see a beautiful picture of serenity and steadfastness, amidst chaos and dread. We can see eight musicians playing an almost otherworldly tune as they face their own deaths. Though, in this world, we may have trials and tribulation, let us be found faithfully living our lives to the glory of God. May our lives be a startlingly-beautiful harmony resounding in the ears of the world around us, of that hope that we have in Christ. When the troubles of this life come, let us play our song all the louder, clinging to God’s promises. Let us burn out bright and not fade into the darkness. Let us press forward by God’s grace and keeping power until we hear those sweet words from our Lord, “Well done, good, and faithful servant- enter into the joy of your master,” (Matt. 25:21).