A promise - do we really understand the meaning of that word anymore today? It seems like words are spoken these days, with no real intention of keeping those "promises". Sometimes it is because they were made in the spur of the moment. At other times, it is because they were made at a moment when we were emotional vulnerable. In fact, many people who raise money for various projects count on us being too busy to really explore what we are giving the money toward, or that their marketing tactics will tug at our heart-strings enough to get us to give. A promise is an expression of assurance that we base our expectation on - not a stipulation, or an undertaking that might or might not work out. When God made a promise to his children, he made it with a commitment to fulfill every aspect of that promise, regardless of the cost. He didn't make those promises us to either at the spur of the moment, or because his emotional strings were pulled. They were made out of intense love.
Remember what you said to me, your servant—I hang on to these words for dear life! These words hold me up in bad times; yes, your promises rejuvenate me. (Psalm 119:49-50)
Hope comes on the wings of a promise. Comfort is contained in the heart of the promise. The Word of God is filled with promises God has made toward his children. So, why is it that we view God's Word as something that is laborious, hard to grasp, and something just way too lofty for our understanding? If it is filled with hope and affords comfort, why do we resist the study of that Word? It really only becomes a comfort, a hope for our daily lives, when we discover it and then live by it, counting on those promises contained within and living by the standards proclaimed there. For David, God's Word had become his night reflection. In the wee hours of night, his mind turned to God - his thoughts were carried into the presence of his loving and compassionate heavenly father. As a child of God, he reflected often on his heavenly father - on the heritage of being one of the children of his household. Reflection is a learned process - it comes through practice - it becomes part of our regular lives. As he got acquainted with what his father spoke to him in the Word, he allowed that Word to have a life-transforming impact on him. As a matter of fact, the more we make God the focus of our reflection, the easier it is to reflect him to others in our life. The more his Word will have a life-transforming impact on us.
You might just have notices how often David declared with an assurance, "Lord, you are mine!" This was not just a saying for him that was without any basis. He stood assured that he belonged to his heavenly father, and that he could proclaim that he had a strong connection to his heavenly father. When we begin to ponder his ways, our ways no longer seem that attractive. We begin to really follow him when this occurs - we lose focus on the things of this world and begin to really tune into him. In that exchange of focus, there is an assurance that every promise is ours. Following begins with "pondering" - we have to consider something before we will just begin to move in that direction. Pondering is the initiation of action. What we "turn over" in our minds is what we often act upon. Therefore, if our minds are focused on the promises of God, we will hope and trust in them with an assurance. No wonder why David pondered these promises in the stillness of night reflection!
The process of following moves from pondering the truths of God's Word, to allowing that Word to deeply affect our lives. We hurry, without any signs of lingering or hesitation, to obey what is contained within those words. Sometimes we get in trouble at this point - not because the Word of God is not trustworthy, but because we look back - we consider for longer than we should what it is we are leaving behind and forget about what we are moving toward. We don't keep our focus straight ahead. Whenever we spend our time looking back, we lose focus on what lays ahead - God is not at work in the past, he is at work in the present and in the future (this requires a forward focus). There is a step in our following that is what I will refer to as "anchoring". We anchor ourselves in him - fully trusting his promises, standing assured in his presence, reliant on his direction. We can simply "believe" the commandments and promises of God - but that doesn't "anchor" us to him. Anchoring comes in the moment by moment reflection upon him. It is in the consistent reflection that we are made consistent in our reflection of him. We become anchored to that which gives us assurance. Where are you anchored today? To what promises are you holding onto for the fulfillment of your dreams today? Discovering and holding onto the promises of God will give you firm "anchorage" in troubling times. We have all we need to face the challenge of today when we are anchored in him for good! Just sayin!