God's Perfect Faithfulness

finewineSometimes it can feel like we have waited an eternity to see promises fulfilled and conflicts in our lives resolved. Yet in Isaiah 25 we find a song of praise for God's favor, and a prophetic announcement of God's salvation that has come to rescue God's people from devastation and shame. In verse 1 God is praised for what is called his "perfect faithfulness",  and for working wonders resulting in the fulfillment of plans formed long ago. Some of us have been in the same place for too long- struggling for too long, sick for too long, hurting for too long, in a dark place for too long. For us, the prophetic announcement of relief and salvation from our circumstances is precisely the news we need to restore our hope and renew our faith. "Why so long?" some might ask, especially when the waiting has been frustrating and the challenges difficult to surmount. We know that the plans were decided upon and put into place long ago. It's not as if God needed time to think it over and decide exactly what to do with us. Why then does it take so much time for God to show himself at work in our lives and faithful to his promises? Verse 6 says that in celebration of the fulfillment of his plans and promises, God prepares a luxurious feast complete with aged, refined wine. Fine wine is aged with tannin, a preservative originating from the stems and seeds of the grapes and integral to long-term maturing. Over time tannin settles at the bottom of the bottle causing the complexities that make up the wine's character to come into balance. Like fine wine, you were produced with an eye toward long term storing and maturation. Your spiritual tannin, that is your faith in Christ Jesus, has over time become your foundation and brought into balance the complexities that make up your character. Faith has brought into balance hurt and disappointment, replacing them with joy and contentment. The guilt and condemnation you once were enslaved to has transformed into mercy and grace. The judgment and unforgiveness you once unleashed on others who hurt you now have compassion and unconditional love in its place. If you look closely you will find that God has used the anticipation of promises you await to bring into balance the complexities that make up your character. God's perfect faithfulness is not just that he fulfills his promises, but that he also transforms you and makes you ready to receive them.

Grapes travel a long journey toward becoming fine wine. Consider the life of a grape as you move along your own refining journey, and remember that the fact that their seeds were planted with an intended end in mind doesn't lessen the time necessary to complete the journey.