One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to trust in the promises of God. We want to throw our own promises into the mix. When we read that God gives us freedom, we think, “well that must mean I can retire with a six figure salary.” When we hear Jesus say that we will be blessed, we think, “that’s great, that must mean I will have an easy life.”
Yet it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that these things don’t always happen. Is it any surprise that we become quickly disillusioned when our prayers “aren’t answered”?
I grew up believing in the religious “check box god.” This was a god who would reward you if you just managed to get enough points or answer the questions correctly. As long as you could do that it didn’t matter what was in your heart or how you lived your life. Avoiding making a “big” mistake was all that mattered. And of course “big” was defined as any mistake you hadn’t made before.
But that’s not what Jesus had in mind.
Jesus keeps his promises his way. We can’t allow ourselves to insert our promises and call them God’s. It doesn’t work that way.
Sunday after Sunday, month after month, the same four families and a few singles gathered for worship at Baptist Church of the Redeemer. As this happened, the Lord slowly disabused me of the notion that the church was going to grow because of me. It hurts to have your pride molded into humility, but it feels good, too, and how liberating! Not to mention the way others prefer humility to pride.
Through this experience, I learned that Jesus keeps His promise to build His church. I learned the power of the Word of God. And I learned – or made progress in learning – to love people.
As I’ve been out of work for 9 months now, I can’t even tell you how many times I have let my assumptions become what I thought was a promise from God. And it was in those moments that I’ve been most tempted to turn away from him. But Jesus keeps his promises. He’s never let me down. I just need to trust that his promises will be kept in his way, not mine.