Nothing comforts my heart as much as reading scripture. The Bible is full of promises for us to claim as our own, if we are believers. According to Dr. Everk R. Storms, of Ontario Canada, writing for Contact Magazine, he spent a significant amount of time counting them all and concluded that there are indeed 8,810 to be exact. There are different types of promises found in scripture: Man to God, person to person, angel to person, etc. 7,487 of those promises are from God to man. That’s a lot of promises!
When do you make a promise? When you do, is it something that you take lightly or does it carry weight? For me personally, when I make a promise, it’s significant. A promise is something that is usually held for a special moment of building confidence or trust into something that another person may deem as uncertain, or insecure. As the girls were growing, I tried very hard to never make a promise casually that couldn’t be kept, because I knew it was laying a foundation of trust for us to build on– for the rest of our relationship. If someone breaks a promise, we usually don’t forget. It’s painful and teaches us that we can’t completely trust that person.
How much more should we value the promises of God? Each one is like a gift that we can hold and look forward too. He knew that we would need reassurance. He knew that we would feel insecure. So, He has woven His promises through-out scripture so abundantly to give us strength, power, joy, and courage- to keep on going. It’s impossible for Him to break a promise. It’s important to note that there is usually a prerequisite to the promise. So, be sure and search them out. Usually that prerequisite aligns us with His heart and will.
Today, as I read the red letters of Jesus and read again some of the promises that He made to us, I’m reminded of just how well He always knows exactly what we need, especially as it pertains to grief. As I study the time that Jesus was on earth with His disciples, much of what He told them was to prepare them for the grief that they would feel when He left them. He was preparing them for a separation after His death on the cross and even after His resurrection because He ascended back to heaven. He knew that the separation would be hard for His disciples and He wanted to prepare them. His promises in John this morning were so fresh to me. Right before he was arrested and taken for crucifixion, He said these words:
“The world will greatly rejoice over what is going to happen to me, and you will weep. But your weeping shall suddenly be turned to wonderful joy(when you see me again). It will be the same joy as that of a woman in labor when her child is born-her anguish gives place to rapturous joy and the pain is forgotten. You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and then you will rejoice; and NO ONE can rob you of that joy.” John 16: 20-22
Did you catch those promises? Weeping turned to joy? Not just plain old joy, but a “rapturous joy” the kind of joy that makes us forget our pain that we have had to endure. Knowing that, makes our grief somehow a little easier doesn’t it? He compares it to childbirth…or for you guys, it’s like when you know you have to have surgery or a medical procedure on your physical body to fix something. You know you’re going to endure some pain for a bit, but eventually, you will be better than before. Our pain is temporary. The pain of grief is temporary. I find so much comfort in Jesus making a point to even tell us that. It’s a promise that strengthens me and makes my grief manageable today. Tomorrow, I may need to read it again or find another promise, but I’m so thankful that they are there for us to claim.
What promise is giving you strength today?