staring at promises

song: the ocean and the sea by bird dog

read time: 8 minutes

 

it’s monday morning — i’ve tried to start writing at least five times and for some reason have deleted everything i’ve written so far.

so i suppose i’ll jump right in. no fluff, just words, and accounts of what happened. eh, slash, what i am thinking.

matt corby was singing soft tunes over the speakers, we were surrounded by boxes from just moving, eating breakfast burritos and rolled tacos — all the while having the most profound and honest conversation about faith.

being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

my dear friend and i sat there last night— exchanging our thoughts, experiences, feelings, and struggles.

see faith— it’s this beautiful thing, but sometimes, personally, there can be this unsettling tension. in a moment, there can be this strong, unwavering faith matched with doubt.

hold on, example.

a couple years ago, i was living in tulsa and working as a nanny. i had two families that i worked with on a regular basis, and loved them as if they were a part of my own. at the time, i was nannying so much — that i always looked for way to take the kids out of the house. watching t.v. for copious amounts of time was not my thing, and i wanted to give the kids a chance to use their imagination. one day, i was babysitting my three little ones and decided to create an adventure for them which included going to the park and indulging in afternoon ice cream cones. the kids loaded up in the car. the two little ones were quick and while we were still waiting on their older brother, they had situated themselves in their carseats. as i was getting ready to lock up the house, i heard little b — the youngest, a three year old —start crying. i asked b what was wrong — he said, “i’m scared.” i was confused. i wasn’t sure what he was scared of — there wasn’t anything that had happened that could have given him reason to be scared. so i asked, “what are you scared of?” as he rubbed his eyes and tried to breathe, b responded, “i’m scared you’re not going to take us to the park.” my heart sank a little bit, we were literally seconds away from being enroute to the park. everything that he was feeling was from that doubt that sneaks in when you are so hopeful that something “too good to be true” is going to happen. at this point the crying had been going on for a couple minutes. i asked his siblings to get out of the car and go to the bathroom then grab a snack from the kitchen. meanwhile, i got b out of his car seat and sat him down on my lap on the bench sitting outside the door. i said, “b — do you know who loves you?” muffled through his tears, he said, “you do.” next, i asked b the biggest question of all. i outstretched my arms as wide as i could and said, “yes! do i love you this much? or just a little bit?” he tried to hide his smile, but couldn’t. he stretched out his little arms as far as he could and said, “you love me this much.” i kissed his little cheek and said, “yes, i do! i love you so much. if i made a promise to you, don’t you think i am going to keep it because i love you?” he nodded his head. i continued, “so you don’t have to be scared. if i promised to take you to the park, then i am going to keep my promise to you because i love you.”

right as i said that, in a flash of a moment — i heard God say, “lindsey, you do this exact same thing.”

BOOM.

just like that, it hit me. i do.

God has made so many promises to me — but sometimes, i act like three year old b. out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, disbelief floods me — i get scared, cry, and am anything but a graceful human being full of faith.

i wish i could say i have only done this once or twice in my life, but that just isn’t so. it happens. usually, for no reason. i suppose, like little b – i just get so caught up in my excitement for the future that i grow tired of waiting. and when i do — the freak out moment comes.

the whole time, God in all His goodness, is saying, “I love you. I am going to be faithful to you. I make good on my promises to you because I love you.”

i don’t know where you are or what promises you are waiting for —

but i can pretty much guarantee that there is something you are waiting for.

we’re all waiting on something.

maybe you are really good on waiting on promises and are completely graceful. but in the chance that you aren’t…. in the chance that you and i share some similarities, and you sometimes have those freak-out moments which are sometimes a little more chaotic than you would like to admit — know this: be patient, God is going to make good on His promises. stop coming up with a million reasons to discount God’s promise to you — stop questioning whether you made everything up in your head. you heard right. stop telling yourself that you need to do something more or be something more before you can receive God’s promises. God doesn’t work that way — he doesn’t give us His promises based on who we are, but based on who He is.

the story of abraham gets me everytime. i can relate to him. he was a man that is known for great faith — but even he had his freak out moments. even abraham questioned if he heard right or if he needed to “do” something in order to receive the promises of God. his story shows that even when you are given the title of the “father of faith” — you can still deal with self-inflicted battles that come when you pay attention to doubt.

romans 4 breaks down the story of abraham and gives some behind the scenes insight pretty well — it’s my favorite, actually. read the whole thing. i guarantee you’ll end up highlighting the whole chapter, it’s just that good. in verse 16 it says, “...the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, and then simple embracing Him and what He does. God’s promise arrives as a pure gift.”

see — right here, it’s proof. it’s evidence against our silly antics that say that we have to do something more — we don’t. we merely have to commit to trusting God and embracing what he is doing. that’s the only action.

it goes on in verse 17 — “we call abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of abraham when he was a nobody. isn’t that what we’ve always read in the Scripture, God saying to abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples?” abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. when everything was hopeless, abraham believed anyway deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. and so he was made the father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “you’re going to have a big family, abraham!” abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “it’s hopeless. this hundred year old body could never father a child.” nor did he survey’s sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. he didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. he plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said.”

it’s easy to read abraham’s story and justify it as different than our own. yes, he was dubbed “the father of faith”, but that didn’t make him any less human. he didn’t have an abnormally mellow waiting process. there’s a reason it says abraham “believed anyway”. abraham had to wait decades on God’s promise. i’m sure, that there were of plenty of times where circumstances seemed hopeless or people told him he was foolish for believing in such an wildly massive promise. i’m sure there were times he questioned whether he was doing something wrong. i’m sure there were times doubt came knocking. but despite all those things  — he believed anyway.

the difference in his story is that he chose to entertain the promises of God, more than the questions and doubts. abraham received God’s promise, not because of something he could do —but because he dared to believe.

i’m speaking to myself here too,

what if when it came to God’s promises we followed abraham’s lead? what if we took the focus off ourselves— what we can do, what we can’t do, silenced the doubt — knowing that the doubt has everything to do with our own inadequacies rather than God’s ability, and chose to believe anyway?

we have nothing to lose, but everything and more to gain.

you may be reading this and feel like timing will never be right.

believe anyway.

maybe, people’s words are discouraging you from believing.

believe anyway.

maybe, you feel like your circumstances are never going to change.

believe anyway.

maybe, you feel like the promise is too big for anyone to keep.

believe anyway.

maybe, don’t believe it could happen for you.

believe anyway.

God intends on not only keeping His promise to you, but outdoing himself in blessing you. while right now, everything may seem chaotic, God is working on your behalf. He’ll make sense of everything going on around you. He’ll make the story you are living one worth retelling — it’ll be that good. God isn’t intimidated by the situations and circumstances around you, but He’s going to use them to His advantage to make the revealing of His promises so much greater. He works all things out for good, my friend. God’s promises are true. He isn’t going to let you down. His generosity never runs out. while you wait on His promises, give Him thanks. His love never quits. His faithfulness is never-ending.

it’s all a choice.

we, you and i, both have a choice right now. we can choose to believe the voices whispering to give up on the promise, cave, and give into doubt —

or

we take a plunge and dive into the the deep waters, choose to trust, and be ready for whatever God has waiting for us. we can dare to believe, even when it doesn’t make sense, and in the end — come up strong.

it’s entirely up to us if we will see God’s promises fulfilled in our lives. it all depends on this moment: if we will choose to trust or not.

let’s do this together. let’s hold each other’s hands, squeeze tightly, and jump into the waters of trust. let’s find ourselves swimming in His goodness and reveling in His faithfulness.

when you aren’t sure if you have enough faith to keep believing, squeeze my hand, and i’ll squeeze yours. we’ll remind each other that God is good, His promises are true, His faithfulness is never-ending, and His love is unfailing.