In this passage, Paul is still informing the Corinthian church why he is writing to them, and why he intends to visit them again soon, but not at the original time he said he would. He tells the Corinthian church that he doesn't want there to be any confusion about what he writes to them, and that he is sincere in all his dealings with them-- not because he is upset with them, but because he is proud of them. He desperately wants them to understand that he is a man of his word, even though his plans changed, and he relates this back to God. He tells them that God does not waver between "yes" and "no"-- instead, he tells them that "all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding 'Yes!'" He also reminds the church that part of this promise of God has already been fulfilled. The Holy Spirit is the "first installment" of God's greatest promise to all, as relationship with Him that leads to eternal life.
This is so, so important, because Paul recognizes our human tendency to take the experiences and characteristics of other people and place them on God. When we are hurt by people, we often believe that God is untrustworthy. When we experience tragedy and suffering, we often believe God is not good. When things don't go perfectly, we take our circumstances and we allow them to define God, instead of letting Him define Himself. Paul is reminding the Corinthian church, as well as us, that his own change of plans, though not necessarily his initial intention, are not a reflection of how he cares for the Corinthians, and they are not made carelessly. He reminds them that there is a bigger picture and better reason for their initial disappointment in his change of plans. And in this reminder, he shows us how God works in our lives. He reminds us that "as God's ultimate 'Yes,' he always does what He says." God is faithful-- it is a part of His nature that does not change. This is so important, because the nature of life is very different from the nature of God. Life throws a lot of curve balls. Plans change. People change. But through it all, God's faithfulness does not. And the things that He promised in His word are not void, and you are not the exception to them. His promises for us are not fulfilled with a half-hearted, "I-couldn't-care-less" "yes;" they are filled with a "resounding yes!" The Lord fully, willingly, and excitingly fulfills His promises for us. They may not always look the way we are expecting them to look, and they may not happen when we are expecting them to happen, but He is always good and always faithful. We never have to wonder what version of God we are getting today--His character never changes, and that means that all of His promises can truly be "Yes and amen."
Spend some time in the Word today and this week reading about God's promises for you. They are everywhere throughout both the Old and New Testaments. As you read them, ask yourself if you believe them. If you do, thank God for enabling you to do that, and if you don't, ask Him to give you His perspective on them. Reflect on promises that the Lord has already answered in your life and in the lives of those around you. Ask yourself how you think your life would be different not only if God answered that promise you are waiting on today, but also if you simply believed that He is going to do it in His time.
My prayer for all of us is that we will begin taking God at His word. He promises us a lot, and we are free to hold Him to it. Lord, build up our faith so that despite our circumstances, we won't waver in believing your goodness, faithfulness, and deep, deep love for us. Give us patience and endurance as we wait on your promises to come to pass, and allow us to live in abundance now, even in the waiting. Help us believe that you are who you say you are, and that we are who you say we are. Amen.
Author | Erin Gilleland