Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The father who keeps his promises

Sunday night our family visited Mosaic, Erwin McManus' church in West Hollywood. It was an incredible service and Erwin gave a phenomenal message, as expected. Before we left for church though, our kids had their hearts set on going swimming at the hotel. We knew we wouldn't be able to make visiting Mosaic if we took a dip, so we ensured them there would be swimming when we got back. 

While buckling Baylee in after church the first words out of her mouth were, "We're going swimming when we get back, right dad?" I love swimming and having fun with my kids, so with complete confidence and intention I said, "Baylee, we are going to swim! I promise you! Unless the pool is broken, we will swim. And if for some reason it's closed when we get back then I promise we will go in the morning." The result was one huge smile.

Now take the fact that 8pm Los Angles time is actually 10pm to Baylee and Jaxon's little Chicago bodies and add to it a 35 minute drive back to our hotel, and result is two zonked out little kids. Gone. Comatose. At this point it didn't matter if the pool was open or not.

But it did matter in the morning. At 7:45am Baylee was awake and the first words she said were, "Daddy, do we get to go swimming?" But she didn't stop there. She added the other words. She played the trump card. She called me out.

"You promised!"

Like I mentioned, I love swimming and having fun with my kids. But I was the walking dead at 7:45am after only getting four hours of the sleep the previous night before all of our travels. The inner dialogue began: 

"I have to take them swimming. I want to take them swimming. But I'm SO tired. Exhausted. Maybe I can talk her into going later. No, that will crush her. Maybe the pool isn't opened! Oh dear Lord, please let the pool open up at 2pm. No, that's horrible. I have to take her swimming. I want to take her swimming. But I'm SO tired! But you promised her. She knows you promised her. You can't break that."

What comes out of my mouth is, "OK, Baylee - let me call and make sure the pool is open. If it is open then we go."

The pool opened at 6:30am.
We went swimming.

And it was a complete and total blast! So much fun with my two little fish. They laughed so much. They dove, they went under, they splashed, they went into the hot tub. It was an awesome morning, and I'm so thankful I got my tired butt out of bed to do it. 

And I'm really glad that I kept my promise. Because the reality is, sometimes I don't. 

It's happened before where I wasn't able to come through. Sometimes I just didn't. Major father failure. I've had to hold a crying Baylee before and apologize and admit that I did wrong. I try really hard to keep my promises. I do everything I can to keep them. But sometimes I fail. 

Walking back to the room this morning my mind went to the fact that God is a keeper of promises. You probably anticipated me saying this. But while visualizing patting myself on the back for being a good dad and keeping my promise, God gave me a little whisper. A good necessary piece of reproachful perspective. 

"I wouldn't have had the inner debate beforehand." 

Punch. To. The. Gut.

Think about that for a second. That God keeps His promises for some is almost common knowledge. But the full truth is what hit me hard: He doesn't have the inner dialogue on whether He should or shouldn't keep them. He doesn't debate. He doesn't self negotiate. 

He always does what He says.
He always wants to always do what He says.

Faithfulness is part of His nature and it is always turned up to full and maximum volume.

So now I'm going back today and rereading some of the promises of God. Promises that bring hope, promises that bring encouragement, promises that build a foundation. And I have even more certainty in their reality because I've been reminded as a child of God of an elemental aspect of this relationship with Him. 

He is the father who keeps His promises. 

Join me in considering some of the promises of God. As you read through these know they are true. Know they are promises that will be kept. The one who made them is as faithful as He is good. And He wants to be.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; John 11:25 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalms 32:8 

But now, this is what the LORD says–he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3a 

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, establish, strengthen and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 

If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.1 John 1:9 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Romans 8:28


Shirene said...

I love that even being hundreds of miles away and 10 years later I still can learn from and be encouraged by my youth pastor :) Thanks for sharing!

Toni Ruppert said...

This post is so valuable, Bobby. I took the promises you cited and placed them on a separate document - so I can keep them in the forethought of my mind.

In a world where promises are broken from the top down, I find it reassuring to be reminded that He doesn't even have an inner debate about keeping his promises. Great post!