I believe I was nine years old the first time I heard the promise, "When your brother is seven we will take you all to Disney World." The thrill and excitement filled this Disney Lover's heart at the thought of just waiting four more years! Anyone can wait four years... right?
Then my brother turned seven, and then eight... and nine.
Disney World never came. I never mentioned the broken promise to my parents who hadn't discussed Disney World again.
Now I am twenty-eight and I sit here recalling their sweet intention, which most parents desire for their child, that just never played out. To be honest, this happens to the best of us, life just takes funny turns and makes certain dreams impossible in our desired time frame. We all have promises we break, whether it is because of life, selfishness, stress, or forgetfulness. Yup, even I stand on the side of the guilty party. Unfortunately, I am also an elephant when it comes to others breaking promises with me.
I can recall so many that people have made, but never came to pass. Disney World probably being the least of them, but one of the earliest ones that comes to mind. I remember promises from friends, from co-workers, family members, my spouse... I only remember the ones that they forget.
However, I realized tonight that I never - NEVER - bring up the promises after they are mentioned. I sit and wait expectantly for people to remember, for their words to mean as much to them as they meant to me. Then my heart breaks when the hour passes and I believe I am the only one wounded.
Therefore, over the course of my life I have developed this defense-mechanism of not taking people seriously. Not taking them at their word. Guarded. Wall built. Fence secured. Heart on lock-down.
Then came the day [October 25, 2017] where God whispered into the depths of my soul.
"You don't take me seriously."
I nearly laughed as I drove from bible study to a presentation and those words came at me like the wind, then swiftly repeated louder than thunder.
"Brady, you do not take me seriously. You do NOT take me at my word. You do NOT believe what I promise."
Cue the tears right?
No tears, just annoyance.
How am I supposed to take YOU at YOUR word?
How am I supposed to look at you and say, "You said"?
Why should I be the one to remind YOU, God, what YOU promised from your own mouth?
This ability to have faith-filled prayer, a faith-filled walk with God is something I have always struggled with. I desire it, I crave it, but
One bloom revealed was in the book of Daniel. In the midst of captivity, Daniel reverses the thunder and prays to God, pleading, "You said!" (Daniel 9)
Another in Genesis when Jacob cries out to God in prayer, holding God to His word again imploring promises were made with, "You said!" (Genesis 32:12, 32:9)
They both approached God, boldly, reminding him of his covenants.
The beauty behind all of this is that because of Jesus we have this access to go to God and hold tight to his promises. Only because of Jesus. Christ redeemed us, he opened up this avenue to be heirs to God's promises (Galatians 3). He demolished this wall of self-protection, this fence guarding our delicate hearts, splitting the veil in two so that we could connect to our heavenly Father and have courage to draw near and petition the promises given to us in the past.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deut. 7:9) He still keeps his promises to those who love him only because of Jesus.
He is God. He is faithful. He keeps his word, and wants us to keep him to his word.
Even on days where responding to him is daunting, where our faith wavers and we are sensing an episode of faithlessness, it is promised that "he is faithful" (2 Tim. 2:13).
On days where I find myself not taking Him seriously, I will learn humble myself and pray, "I may be failing right now, but you are faithful. You will wait for me, you will correct me, you will restore my hope. God you say you are merciful, you are good and do good, and your understanding is beyond measure. You lead me to still waters to refuel me. You said you would refill me. You promised that you wait to be gracious to me LORD, to show me mercy. You draw near to me when I am weak, you ease my yoke, and you bend down and fill me - wrapping me tightly in your band of love. LORD, for nothing is impossible for you. Not my doubt, not my fluctuating confidence, nor my unsteady faith will ever separate me from your love. But God help me, help me to abide in you every single day. YOU SAID ask and you shall receive, and I ask that you create in me a steadfast faith, unyielding and unrelenting. I am asking this in your name, and you vowed that if I asked anything in your name, you would do it if for your glory. God, you said."
Friends, this journey will be new to me - learning to trust and hold God to his word. Baby steps you could say. Slowly leading me down a path of confidence in walking faithfully alongside him.