Reflections by Paul Kjoss Helseth
Associate Professor of Christian Thought
For a variety of reasons, professing believers often wonder if their Father in Heaven can be trusted. Can God be trusted, they sometimes ask, to sustain me through the ups and downs of my day to day experience?
The third article of University of Northwestern & Radio’s Doctrinal Statement suggests four reasons why Christians can rest assured – even in the midst of life’s difficulties – that their Father in Heaven is trustworthy. First, our Father can be trusted because He is the “Creator of Heaven and earth.” Our Father not only created everything that exists out of nothing (creation ex nihilo), but He providentially sustains and works all things that take place in the created order according to the counsel of His will (cf. Job 42:1-6; Ps. 33:6-11; Eph. 1:11).
Second, our Father can be trusted because everything that He does reflects his character in that all of his works are “perfect in holiness” (cf. Deut. 32:4). All of God’s works, in other words, are without sin and ultimately purposed for the good of His children and the glory of His name (cf. Rom. 8:28-39).
Third, our Father can be trusted because He is “infinite in wisdom.” God can always be counted on to accomplish the good things that He has purposed by using the best possible means because He alone “has counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13).
Finally, our Father can be trusted because He is “measureless in power.” He has the ability, in other words, to accomplish all His good purposes, and to do so despite whatever would presume to stand in His way (cf. Daniel 4:34-35). In short, the third article of our Doctrinal Statement gives us the confidence that no matter what the Lord’s providence brings our way, we can trust that He is concerning Himself mercifully in our affairs, hearing our prayers, and saving us from sin and death because He – and He alone – is the perfectly holy, infinitely wise, and immeasurably powerful Creator whose promises are “yes” and “amen” in Jesus (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20).
I have rejoiced in the trustworthiness of God in the past 18 months as I have experienced both the sweet and the bitter providence of God. In the spring of 2006 my father was diagnosed with the cancer that eventually took his life in January of this year. Shortly before the end of the first semester in the fall of 2006, I received a call informing me that the treatments my father had been receiving had been unsuccessful, and that he had only three weeks to live. The loss of my father has proven to be difficult, but God has proven Himself to be more than faithful. In July, my wife Marla and I were blessed with the birth of our first child, our daughter Margrethe Pearl. Grethe’s arrival has been bittersweet; bitter because my father is not here to hold and to love his newest grandchild and sweet because she is our treasure. I must confess that I am sobered by the responsibility of fatherhood. I am confident, though, that the Lord is trustworthy for the reasons outlined above, and that one day, if He is willing, Margrethe will come to know her heavenly Father as her Grandfather did, and she will sing the praises of her Savior with him in the new heaven and the new earth.
Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalm 25:8-10