Oh how I remember promises.
As a child, when your parent promises you something, you believe that what they are saying will happen.
"I promise I will pick you up and not forget you."
"I promise that if you do not pick a fight with your sister, that I will pay you."
"I promise that if you improve your grade, you can drive the car again."
"I promise I will not miss your game. (or your performance).
"I promise I won't drink that much again."
"I promise I won't hit you."
What happens when we do not get what we are promised?
Our faith in the person crumbles a bit. If promises are never kept; we learn not to trust what they say..
But when promises are fulfilled, we are delighted. We believe and our trust is not challenged.
One promise that was broken to me was when I was a senior in high school. My dad promised that he would not miss my high school graduation. My parents had officially divorced in my junior year, but to me, it seemed like an amicable divorce.
I loved my dad. I was definitely a "Daddy's girl."
My dad was an alcoholic. I think that was what tore my parents marriage apart.
I don't remember my dad making many promises to me, but this one I remembered because he had moved from northern California where we lived, to San Diego.
Of course I expected him to be there. Isn't that what parents do?
What I didn't know is that his new girlfriend (who he eventually married, and later divorced) had a daughter who graduated the same night I was.
When he didn't show up, I remember being hurt. And sad. But as a high school-er, I was more into what was going on in the life of my friends, than my family.
It was years later that I realized how much that really hurt me. It appeared that my dad chose her daughter over me. I remember asking him about it just once and he apologized profusely. Maybe its that over 45 years have passed, and that hurt is forgotten and forgiven that I don't care about that anymore. What I realized from that occurrence, is that I didn't want to break promises to my children.
Unfortunately, I did.
The promise that our home would always be a welcome home for their friends was broken in my anger and own brokenness. For that, I am always going to have remorse.
I wonder how many of us have never had a promise broken to us or who we have never broken a promise that we made. In the year of a political election, I am very skeptical when the candidates promise things. I think they say what we want to hear-just to get our vote.
In the fourth chapter of Romans, it says:
"Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping- believing that he would become the father of many nations.
Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact his faith grew stronger and stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do what He
promises." New Living Translation (Romans 4:18,20-21)
For those of you who do not know the story, God had promised that Abraham would have an heir, a son who came from his own body. It was well past the time that Sarah, his wife, was of child bearing age. In fact, Sarah when unable to conceive, had Abraham father a child through her maid. But this was not what God had promised. So years later, many years later, when Abraham was one hundred and Sarah was Ninety, she gave birth to their son, Isaac.
Didn't I just quote Romans saying that Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise?
Yes, yes I did.
For almost positive, I would have wavered, I would have had many periods of doubt.
" Did God really say that? Did he really promise me?"
Abraham never wavered. In fact his faith grew stronger and stronger.
I believe that happened because for me having doubts and struggling with my faith, always ends up in me growing closer to God. In fact, I even wrote about it this past summer (http://missyscud.blogspot.com/2015/08/doubt-lament-and-learning-to-surrender.html).
Doubting God always seems to make me draw nearer to Him after I have struggled through whatever it is that I am doubting. Wondering if He is indeed Good, all the time. Wondering if He hears me. Wondering if He cares. Wonder if He sees what is really going on.
One of the main lessons I have learned in following Jesus is that He does not break His promises. Ever. God's promises are always true; always come at the perfect timing.
Hebrews 10:23 says:
"Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for
God can be trusted to keep His promise."
People make promises and break them. Sometimes on purpose; sometimes unwillingly, sometimes without even realizing it. Because of that we get dis-trustful, have doubts, become angry.
People will always fail us at times. Even the most perfect spouse. Even the most obedient children. Even our most trusted friends.
God is the only one who will NEVER break His promises to us. He is the ONE who will NEVER fail us or forsake us.
O Lord God, help me, help us to believe like Abraham. To never waver and to always believe you.