Not Every Promise is a Happy One. But Every Promise is an Opportunity.

God is not a liar.

While we might make grand claims and big promises with the best of intentions, many times our mouths outpace either our commitment or our resources, and we end up having to backtrack on things we’ve said. We are promise-breakers, spiritual kin to the children of Israel, who time and time again committed to fully and wholly follow God and His law only to come back on their promises. Such is the case with us, we of the “recommitments” and the trips down to the altar, we of the easy believism and the non-cost-counters. But not Jesus.

God says what He means, and He means what He says. He is not a liar, and He keeps all His promises.

Here’s the thing though – not all promises are happy ones.

Some are. That He will give us the words to say when we are questioned. The He will fill us with joy in His presence. That He is preparing a place of eternal joy for us. That He will never leave us or forsake us. That all things work together for our ultimate good. These are all rock solid, undetractable, bank on it promises of God. But then again, so is this:

“You will have suffering in this world” (John 16:33).

We should, therefore, not be shocked at all manner of trouble that befalls us. We should not be surprised at being insulted or marginalized; we should not be dismayed when the faithful are sick in the ICU next to the unfaithful; we should not be panicked when the children of God lose their jobs or suffer in the drought or whatever else might come. We should not be surprised because Jesus has promised that it would be so.

Not every promise is a happy one.

But every promise, be it happy or not, is an opportunity to look back to the God who keeps His promises. The problem is when these things, truly difficult and heart-wrenching and burdensome things, happen, our tendency is to doubt whether God is truly for us. Or truly loves us. Or is truly working for our good. But rather than cause us to doubt, these circumstances are an opportunity for us to be reaffirmed in our faith that God does indeed mean what He says and says what He means.

For if these promises, the unhappy ones, are not also kept, then how might we know that God will surely keep any of the others? This is the opportunity, whether the fulfillment of His promises bring us great prosperity or temporary affliction. The opportunity is for us in each and every case to be reminded that Jesus said it would be so.

When, then, the trouble that Jesus promised would come does indeed come, instead of being shocked, dismayed, or surprised, we can see that here is yet another confirmation that God keeps His Word. And His Word tells us that despite this trouble, He will finish the good work He started in us (Phil.1:6) and will make good on the inheritance promised His children in Christ (Eph. 1:11-14).

Jesus is no liar. Thank God He’s not.

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