It was rather early in the morning, still dark outside, when the voice of my son broke the silence and solitude of my time alone with God. I was struggling to shake off the drowsiness of restless night with a cup of strong Turkish coffee, hoping to dispel the fog that has enveloped my mind and soul by straining to make sense of the words sprawled out across my lap. Not much success in either.
Remember, yesterday…? You promised…
He stood there, in front of me, fully dressed, shoes on, shoelaces tied in double-knots, a picture of readiness to face the day. I couldn’t help but appreciate the stark contrast.
Yesterday? I promised…? I wrecked my brain trying hard to recall what he was talking about. What did I promise?
Well, you said that if I finish all my work, reading and the vampire bat project, I can have my LEGO magazines back. So, here I am, all done… He looked at me expectantly, beaming with self-confidence.
Some time ago I had to confiscate his magazines because they became a major distraction in his ability to take care of his basic responsibilities. Not because I thought that the magazines were bad, or because I wanted to punish him. I was helping him out by simplifying his overcrowded little life. Needless to stay, that’s not exactly how he interpreted my actions. I also communicated that when he shows sufficient maturity to handle the magazines appropriately, I would be glad to give them back to him. Over the course of the next several weeks, we had a number of ups and downs but eventually he seemed to have grasped what we’ve been trying to teach him, and started taking more ownership over his own life and its implied duties. In fact, he was doing so well that yesterday I mentioned he can have his magazines back… and then forgot all about it. But he didn’t. And so, first thing this morning he came to remind me. To take possession of the promise I have given. I smiled.
They are in the guest bedroom. You can go and get them.
I watched him bounce off towards the bedroom and looked down. Sprawled across my lap was the Book of Promises, the promises the infinite God who cannot lie spoke (and still speaks) to His people over many centuries – some unbelievable, amazing promises… that He would cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him; that nothing, nothing, NOTHING can ever separate us from His love; that He has wiped my ever-growing sin account clean and will not charge it against me; that He’ll never leave me hanging alone on a limb; and that He Himself will from this day, to the next and to the next, until I see Him face to face, stick with me and strengthen my weak body and faltering soul to do everything He wants me to accomplish in this life! And all this, not because I accomplished some long to-do list of His, but freely and cheerfully, no strings attached, no small print, just because His Son traded His life for mine.
However, in my case, it is not God who forgets His promises – I do! And then I sit in the ever-expanding puddle of self-pity, a pathetic anti-advertisement for my amazing heavenly Father until He sends me a little boy who reminds me what real faith is through his confident (shall I add, child-like?) trust and full expectation that what his mother, weak and flawed as she is, has promised, she will certainly do.
"Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also, but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard." Hebrews 4:1,2