“Please give us a promise. Anything. Give us something to hold on to that will give us confidence to move forward.”
This was my prayer to God. Everyday. All week. All month. With every passing day, though, I admit it became more desperate and frustration-filled. Why wasn’t Jesus showing up, filling my bedroom with light, and speaking a clear promise over Daren and me?!
As you already know if you’re a reader of this blog, Daren is going to run across the country next year. To do that, you need time (four months to spend on the road), money (or at least a donated RV!), and physical health/strength. At the time of this prayer, all those things were being called into question. The biggest concern was Daren’s knee. We didn’t know what was wrong with it, and the worst-case scenario was that it was something major and out of our control that would crumble the plan. We knew that the dream of RunDarenRun was created out of Godly intentions and with great faith, but suddenly we were asking ourselves if this was REALLY from God. Maybe we thought wrong. Maybe we weren’t doing God’s will like we thought. After all, there was no clear voice from God that said, “Daren, I have appointed you to run across the country to raise money for clean water projects in my name.” Doubts were filling us. And when over two years of your life is wrapped around an event happening, it can be scary when things don’t seem to be going the way you imagined. This is why I needed a promise. I wanted Daren to have a promise. I didn’t want him to carry anxiety. I didn’t want us to sit around questioning whether we should continue. I wanted to know with certainty that God was for this and with us. I wanted reassurance of divine aide.
After a few long weeks of struggling, praying, seeking, and ultimately feeling discouraged, another Sunday morning came. As always, we drove ourselves to Radiant Church (with a traditional stop at Sweetwater’s Donuts on the way). Before Pastor Lee even began his message, Daren and I looked at each other and said, “Here is our promise.” Anticipation filled us as we soaked in the final message of a “Seek” series done on the life of Abraham. On this particular Sunday, I felt so drawn to Abraham and his wife. Both were given a promise…an impossible seeming promise. “…I promise that you will be the father of many nations…” Abram was so sure of this promise that he left all that was familiar and safe to live out of tents. It wasn’t easy. They faced so many difficult situations and doubted God many times. Eventually they got old, past the age of child-bearing, and started to wonder if they had heard God wrong. Maybe they had misunderstood. Maybe God was figurative, or maybe they were just crazy. How could they have a son at their age? But as the story goes, even despite the doubts and the crazy wait period, God was faithful. He carried out his promise.
I felt foolish that morning. I had felt so irritated that God hadn’t sent me a promise, and failed to realized that I had had one all along. God had already promised to be with us. There are SO MANY promises in scripture that I failed to acknowledge. One of which says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” He has promised to never leave or forsake us, to strengthen us and provide for us(Isaiah 41:10), and to make our plans successful if we commit them to Him (Proverbs 16:3). He has proven himself faithful to us over and over again. Many of these times we can see now only in hindsight. He has already given me promise.
Living out this vision is scary. It’s disruptive of what would otherwise be our “normal life.” To say that we never doubt these promises would be a lie. But we know God has always been faithful to us in the past, and trust he will be faithful in the uncertain days to come. Because God always keeps his promises.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all
that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory…” EPHESIANS 3:20