How did you make a promise to your friends when you were growing up? Was it the spit-and-shake? The bold swear-on-your-mother’s-grave move? For me, it was the pinky promise, and I like to think that it’s been most effective way to make promises. Who wouldn’t like to imagine that the reason the Queen of England holds her pinky out whilst drinking tea is because she uses it to make trade deals and political agreements? That is power.
You know, one thing I really struggled with was understanding what God has promised me. I read Scriptures and saw a lot promises made to the people he was actually talking to, but we embroider those verses on pillows a little too freely – what promises are actually made for us?
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.Romans 4:18-21
This passage from Romans explains the blind faith Abraham and Sarah had to have in order to receive the long road of blessings that were to come. I think there’s something really important to note… It says: “…[he] was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (emphasis mine)
Abraham, this side of heaven, never actually saw the whole promise play out!
If you know me, you know I’m a planner. I enjoy checking things off lists and visually seeing how much I’ve accomplished. Abraham didn’t have this luxury. And maybe you don’t either.
There might be something that God has put in your life to struggle through. Maybe it’s a position you’re not thrilled about, a divorce you’re going through, the sickness of a family member, or crushing financial debt. If you’re not experiencing a heavy burden this very moment, build your faith up now so that when those moments arrive – and they will arrive – you’re ready to face it.
Training our minds to ask, “What is God trying to teach me through this?” moves us from woe-is-me to clarity.
When we read the Bible, we should ask a similar question: “What does God want me to learn from their situation?”
You’re probably not going to face a Philistine or enter the stomach of a big fish. You’re also probably not going to save your people by becoming a princess or watch someone multiply loaves and fish.
But the lessons God teaches us through those stories is what we should hold on to. It’s the faith it took to get there and the humility it took to watch it unfold. It’s the swallowing of pride and the effort made to change what you’re suffering through.
The promises God has made to us are relational. He promises to be our God, to fight for us, save us without question, and to love us unconditionally.
And, who knows? You may see a moment in your life where you feel like God is stretching out his pinky finger. Smile, and link yours with his because you’re about to get what you’ve been praying for….even if you never see it coming.