Are We Sure We Want to Claim the Promises of God?

God always keeps His promises.

We echo this mantra to our kids, hoping that it’s going to sink in and might even serve them well in the coming years of adolescence. But there’s another side to this statement; one that doesn’t get as much press.

See, when we say that God always keeps His promises, we typically think of the kind of promises that lead to our comfort. So, yes, in that instance, we do indeed want to claim the promises of God. We want to claim the promise that He is going to work all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28). We want to claim the promise that God will complete His good work in us (Phil. 1:6). And we want to claim His promise that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8) and that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

These are comforting promises.And like kids who have been promised a treat after dinner, we sit at the table of the Father counting on Him to keep His word.

But these aren’t the only promises of God. And not all God’s promises are quite so easy to claim:

“In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).

It’s not a “maybe, maybe not” kind of thing. It’s a promise. As real as God’s constant presence, as real as His engineering of circumstances for our good, and as real as His abiding love. It’s a promise.

We should keep this in mind when we want to “claim” the promises of God on our lives. The promises of God aren’t like a cafeteria line where you can take the ones that taste like Jell-O and leave the ones that taste like broccoli. It’s a full plate that comes to you in Christ, like it or not. God always keeps His promises:

“You will have trouble.”

But amazingly, even in this promise, the gospel echoes on, for that’s not the only thing Jesus promises in this passage. After this promise of suffering and trial, Jesus plainly says that despite this we should be courageous because “I have conquered the world.”

That’s the good news that accompanies the not-so-comfortable promises of God. It’s that though we will have trouble – though we will suffer – though we might even be brought before rulers, governments, and authorities to answer for our faith – Jesus has conquered the world.

We can, then, have very clear expectations from God because He keeps these promises. Will there be difficulty? Yes. Will He be present with us? Yes. Will His victory be declared over all creation? Absolutely.

God always keeps His promises.

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