This year, Olympian Steele Johnson took a deep dive into God’s faithfulness. Long ago, Johnson was nearly killed when practicing a difficult dive. His head hit the platform. He cracked his skull, fell more than thirty feet, and plunged into the water headfirst and unconscious. He eventually recovered and kept diving.
In 2016, he brought home a silver medal from the Olympics in Brazil.
This year, Johnson didn’t make it to the Olympics. He had to withdraw because of an injured foot. Despite surgeries and therapies, it wouldn’t heal quickly enough, causing Johnson deep disappointment and financial hardship. Losing his spot at the Olympics was agonizing.
Johnson told his fans: “I don’t understand the timing of this, and may never know why the pain hit its critical point at the Olympic Trials, but I know that God is good and that there will be blessings in this decision… My identity is rooted in who Jesus says I am… It might take me a while to feel contentment, but I’m choosing to believe the Lord is faithful ALWAYS.”
Steele Johnson knew how to take a page from Jeremiah’s Journal, because he was practicing a spiritual technique that goes all the way back to Lamentations 3 — choosing to believe in the facts one knows, not in the feelings one has at any given moment.
Perhaps you’re acquainted with the Old Testament book of Lamentations. Jeremiah composed these morbid, gut-wrenching laments as he gazed over the smoldering ruins of Jerusalem. It was the worst moment of his life.
Sooner or later, we’ll encounter the worst day of our lives. Perhaps you’ve already lived through a day like that — or several of them, when you were overwhelmed with loss and grief. Maybe you’re fighting off those feelings now.
Jeremiah had devoted his life to bringing spiritual revival to Judah, but he couldn’t stop the decadence and decline of his culture. Even his family turned against him, and everything cascaded into ruin in 587 B.C. The Babylonians destroyed almost everything and everyone, and even God’s redemptive grace seemed lost.
“How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!” sobbed Jeremiah. “Her fall was astonishing… This is why I weep… I am the man who has seen affliction.”
But exactly in the middle of his lamentations, we have this classic biblical passage: Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 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.
See why I said Steele Johnson was taking a page from Jeremiah?
Have you learned to do that, to bring the biblical facts to the forefront of your mind in brutal moments?
For me, it takes all the discipline I can muster. I have to grab my lapels, wag my finger in my face, and quote one of God’s promises. It’s like jumping off the high board. But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope…
It seems frightening to trust unconditionally in God’s faithfulness, but it’s the safest plan. His love is immeasurable. His compassion is inexhaustible. His promises are unfailing. His mercies and blessings flood our lives like a rolling tide each morning. All the Father’s promises were purchased for us by Christ’s blood and guaranteed by His resurrection.
God’s faithfulness is His absolute determination to keep every sentence, every word, and every syllable of every promise He has ever made, based on the redemptive work of Christ. It is His unchanging integrity to His Word. Because He cannot lie, His words cannot fail.
In researching my book, Great is Thy Faithfulness, I found nearly 100 Bible verses that explicitly mentions God’s quality of being faithful. For example:
- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
- The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does (Psalm 145:13).
- The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
- But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
We can’t avoid bad news and awful times. Just checking the national and world news is enough to foul up our days. Personal issues can drive us to distraction. But listen to Steele Johnson again: “It’s cool to see how God can use something that life throws at you, something horrible, something that could absolutely take you out for the rest of your life or end your life, and He can use it for good later on down the road.”
So when you feel like you’re in a nosedive, remind yourself you’re simply diving into the bottomless ocean of God’s faithfulness. And while you’re plunging through the air, sing to Him a hymn, like…
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassion, they fail not.
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. https://www.nwestiowa.com/opinion/disch-god-is-faithful-through-the-decades/article_01a457e0-1b0a-11ec-9d71-4be9ee646325.html Lamentations quotes are from Lamentations 1:1; Lamentations 1:9; Lamentations 1:16; Lamentations 3:1; Lamentations 3:21-23. https://www.liberty.edu/news/2018/09/07/olympic-diver-steele-johnson-shares-faith-journey/
Written for Devotionals Daily by Robert J. Morgan, author of Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
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God’s faithfulness is something we can always be sure about. Everything can come crashing down around us in a moment, but God remains faithful. Life changes again and again and yet God is faithful. No matter what, He is faithful! He can use the circumstances in your life that seem brutally hard for surprising benefit. Count on Him! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily