Over the last couple of years, I have really been struggling with some events, circumstances, and changes in my life. Just in the last year alone, I have left a job that I loved and a place that had been familiar to me for twenty-three years. My youngest daughter left traditional schooling and began learning at an online school. My oldest daughter graduated high school and began her first year in college. I have now turned 46 which is on the downhill side to 50.
I have given up many of the old comforts in my life in an attempt to be obedient to God and fulfill a purpose that, if I am totally honest, I don’t think I completely understand. All of these changes, regrettably, have created so much uncertainty, anxiety, fatigue, and depression in my life. So, I have been asking myself what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I shake this? Why can’t I see the blessings through any circumstance? Why do I feel like such a failure? Sure, it would be easy to give some excuse like it’s not my fault, anyone would react the same way, after all isn’t that what being human is all about. But if I reacted that way it would all be out of my flesh and not out of my spirit. I really don’t want to approach it that way and I don’t think that is how God wants me to approach it either. I have been asking for guidance from God and the one thing that He keeps bringing up to me is, “What are My promises?”
If you Google how many promises are in the Bible, you can get a wide range of answers, even as much as 8,000. I am not really sure exactly how many there are, but I think it’s safe to say, “a lot.” As I think about it, so many scriptures come to mind. God promises to never leave us or forsake us in Deuteronomy 31:6. He promises eternal life in John 3:16. He promises to supply all of our needs in Philippians 4:19, and He promises peace in Jeremiah 29:11. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. With so many promises in the Bible, you would think, “Duhhh, no problem, that’s easy, good question, there’s the answer, let’s just move on, no big deal.” Right? Wrong! I actually believe there is more to His question than the simple, “What are My promises?” I think the real question God might be asking me is do I believe His promises, and do I believe in His ability and desire to keep them?
Of course, the first step is for me to know His promises. In order to do that I have to be familiar enough with the scripture to recall it to my mind. I read daily, and I pray for God’s wisdom in understanding the scripture. The truth is that sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t. It can be easy to get frustrated and want to give up when it comes to reading the Bible; however, it is important for me to be disciplined and continue even though full understanding might not be achieved yet. It never hurts to ask someone what they think the scripture is saying or to break it apart and study each word so that God can reveal a deeper meaning to me. “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 John 2:5)
Once I know His promises, I must decide if I believe His promises. Maybe the real question here is, “Do I believe in the giver of those promises?” Promises are just words spoken. It is a declaration that someone will do something or that something will happen. So, I know that when God asks me, “What are my promises,” it is also a question of do I trust Him to deliver those promises. I am not going to lie; this is single-handedly the hardest step for me. Trusting anyone is a great challenge, but now you’re asking me to trust in something that I have never seen. Of course, that sounds crazy. Right? I know that I can’t explain it, but I do know that God is real. And I do know that I want to trust Him with all of my heart. Unfortunately, when I allow experiences in my life to prevent me from truly accepting His promises, it is because I am acting in my flesh and not through the Holy Spirit that abides within me.
If I don’t believe in Him, then how am I truly able to apply His promises to my life. The only thing I know to do is to try to overcome it and really think about God and ask myself when was He ever not there, when did I ever not overcome an obstacle in front of me, when did He ever lie to me? The truth of the matter is NEVER. So why do these stupid emotions make me doubt or not believe? Ultimately, I am selfishly acting out of my flesh, out of the animal inside of me that responds with a fight or flight reaction to survive. I am not acting out of the spirit that is the comforter inside me. (John 14:26-27)
Every day is a struggle to focus and trust in Him and His promises. Every day I must pray. Every day I must read scripture. Every day I must confess the struggle, and finally, every day I must not accept it as reality. Because, the reality is, God promises us peace, safety, security, strength, and so much more. I must move out of my flesh and physicality and act out of the spirit to overcome it. God’s promises are great, and I can trust that it is His desire to share them with me. “He is a rewarder to those who diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
“For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7
— Written by Alisa
God’s promises are more binding than a pinky swear.