Not if. But when.
The sun will rise tomorrow morning. Of that I am certain. Excepting for either the return of Christ or some world-ending cataclysmic catastrophe, tonight’s sunset will eventually give way to a brand new day. The night will not endure. The darkness will bow before the dawn’s early light. Yes, I will say it with confidence. I will say it in faith. The sun will rise tomorrow morning. It’s not a question of “if.” It’s just a matter of “when.” It will happen. (And if by some off-chance I turn out to be wrong, it won’t really matter. None of us will be here to either read or refute this note. So, either way, I’m good.)
Manoah is man a full of faith, a man full of certainty and assurance. Keep in mind that up until this point he had never personally met the divine messenger. The angel of the Lord had only appeared to his wife at first. Manoah only hears the message secondhand. Even then, the wife’s words aren’t exactly full of confidence. She doesn’t seem entirely convinced that it was an angel. In her own words she simply described the angelic messenger as “a man of God.” But when Manoah’s time to meet the man of God finally arrives, he exhibits a faith that would put most of us to shame. (Hey, I’ll be honest. It certainly puts me to shame. I wish it didn’t but it does.)
For Manoah, God’s word was a promise. It was a guarantee. It was an assurance, a certainty. No questions asked. No debate. If God said, He meant it. I imagine that Manoah probably had a bumper sticker on his donkey that read, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” God’s Word was going to be fulfilled. No matter what. No exceptions. For Manoah it was obvious. It was not a matter of “if.” It was only a question of “when.”
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that trying to generate faith artificially is not a good idea. I have never been a big component of the Sunday morning “pep rally.” Worship isn’t and shouldn’t be an attempt to manufacture a feeling. Especially in the area of faith. Faith isn’t a feeling. It transcends feeling. The Bible explains faith this way in Hebrews, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the cinnamon rolls that you smell long before you ever see or taste them. Faith is substance. Faith is evidence. Faith isn’t based on things seen or felt. It’s the confidence that comes from a personal relationship with the Lord. It’s a trust that arises from understanding the faithfulness of God. It’s a sense of certainty that finds its grounding and roots in the timeless and unchanging truth of God’s Word.
Personally, I am both challenged and encouraged by Manoah’s words to the angel. His “when” challenges me because I realize that there are still many circumstances in my life where I wrestle with doubt. Sorry. Just being honest. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years but I still have those long nights of the soul. Sometimes I wonder if His promise will actually ever come to pass in my life. Yes, I still stumble when it comes to my walk of faith. But Manoah’s “when” also encourages me. It reminds me that the faithfulness of God is not based on my faith. Not sure about that? Take a look at 2 Timothy. “…if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” God’s faithfulness is based on His character. He keeps His promises because He is faithful. He will not fail me because He cannot fail His Word. His word is a promise. Nothing less. If He said it, He will do it. It’s not a question of “if.” It’s just a matter of “when.” His Word will come to pass. It did for Manoah. And it will for each of us.