I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to do a lot of writing since I retired from the organization I had worked at for nearly 38 years at the end of March. My favorite place to write is at a table under an umbrella on our patio in the backyard. It is quickly becoming my “outdoor office”. We recently completed some landscaping work in the backyard which turned out nicely. The growing trees and bushes give us some privacy and a very comfortable space.
As I write, I hear the birds as they come to feast at the bird feeders just off the patio, and then dart back into the red sunset maple tree nearby. Oh, yes, that red sunset maple. We go back a ways, about twenty-two years back.
Back in the mid-1990’s, a lot of my peers on our staff were around 40 years old, and unfortunately a lot of us were also losing parents. Oftentimes what we did was to give the one who lost a parent a gift certificate for a tree to be planted in their memory. I can remember like it was yesterday my supervisor, Steve, kindly coming to my parent’s home as we were preparing for my Mom’s visitation to give me my gift certificate. Mom loved taking drives to look at the fall colors in central Illinois and on special vacations to Galena, Illinois. It didn’t take long to decide that we would choose a tree that would provide the vibrant fall colors she loved. We settled on a red sunset maple, and planted it in the backyard of my parent’s home. When my Dad decided to sell the house a year later, we dug the tree up and moved it to our backyard.
A lot has happened in the years since I transplanted Mom’s tree in our backyard. I graduated from seminary and now I’ve retired. We have lost loved ones. Through it all, Mom’s tree has been our faithful companion. It now stretches to about thirty feet tall. It’s gotten so big that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to grow grass under it. In addition to being a home to the many birds who frequent our backyard, it is also a place of refuge for the squirrels I frequently chase away from our bird feeders.
During these years, Mom’s tree has been faithful, breaking forth in colors of red and yellow each fall and growing taller and taller each summer. As much as I love Mom’s tree however, consider how much more faithful is our God. One of my favorite things about God is that He is faithful. Whenever He makes a promise He keeps it. We see this theme over and over again throughout the Bible. The Bible has much to say about God’s faithfulness. Be encouraged by these ten wonderful verses about His faithfulness:
- Deuteronomy 7:9: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.
- Psalm 36:5: Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
- Psalm 86:15: But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
- Psalm 119:90: Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
- Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:3: But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
- 2 Timothy 2:13: If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.
- Hebrews 10:23: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
- 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.