BY MARY GEISEN
Do you remember the childhood secrets you promised to keep? The secret was sealed with a pinky swear, and that’s all it took. Or when just keeping your word was good enough? In eighth grade, my best girlfriends promised not to reveal a surprise slumber party for my 14th birthday. It was easy for them to keep the promise because the look on my face when I arrived was worth it to them. The beauty of a promise is the joy and trust it produces on the other side.
Looking back, I see how childhood promises were much easier to keep. I trusted my friends with an innocence that was harder to maintain as I grew into adulthood. I expected promises to be honored as I grew up and didn’t know any different. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls that can crush childhood innocence.
The biggest promise I ever made was to “love and cherish, till death do us part.” I believed every word and stood before friends and family declaring the words as a sign of commitment to my husband. Twenty-one years later, life got in the way. My beliefs turned upside-down and all I held dear seemed to crumble before me.
Broken promises are a sign that our heart is not aligned with God’s heart. I always believed my marriage was centered on God, but learned that going to church weekly did not constitute a true relationship with God. It took my own broken relationship to see how God desires our focus to center on Him daily–not just when we remember or feel like it.
A promise is not a promise unless we follow through completely. I found the word “promise” mentioned multiple times in the Psalms, but was touched most deeply by these words:
What a God you are! Your path for me has been perfect! All your promises have proven true. What a secure shelter for all those who turn to hide themselves in you! You are the wrap-around God giving grace to me (Psalm 18:30 TPT).
In a world of broken promises, I can stand secure in the truth that God’s promises are true and grace-filled. He promises the same for you too. Throughout the Old Testament, God assured the Israelites the gift of the Promised Land. But what speaks to me so clearly is the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and Israel to make their descendants as numerous as the stars.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever. Exodus 32:13
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Today, I am making a list of broken promises I have experienced in my life, and on the other side of the page, a list of fulfilled promises. I prayerfully ask you to join me in this task. If you’re like me, you will find your life contains both broken as well as completed promises. What does your list look like? Do you see resolution for some of the promises that did not turn out the way you hoped? How can you overcome the hurt that resulted in the broken promises and turn the corner toward healing?
God does not leave us in a place of hurt. He promises to restore our brokenness and love us in both our messy and joyful times. God’s grace and mercy restored the brokenness I suffered in my marriage by reminding me I was not defined by that event. You can rest in the knowledge that you will find all you need in God.
PRAYER Father God, today I rest in the truth and hope that Your promises are truly for me. When I make mistakes, You still reach out to hold me and show me that I am yours. The times I break my trust with a friend or family member are the times that You extend Your grace to remind me that forgiveness is a gift. That knowledge helps me to be graceful when my trust is broken in return. I thank You for grace and the chances You give me to make things right. I am humbled that my mistakes are not held against me, but instead become a lesson steeped in love and forgiveness. I praise and thank you for that endless love. Amen.
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