The modern world is a strange place. It often feels like you’re getting pulled in so many directions, that it can feel almost impossible to center yourself.
Amongst a sea of different expectations, of beliefs and voices that we are all expected and try to listen to, as well as the busy nature of many of our lives. It’s a tough struggle that many of us struggle with, no doubt.
But you might notice that some people around you seem to have a little better handle on all of it. Sure, they may stumble at times, be a little unsure of themselves for a few moments, but they always find a way to gather themselves and keep moving forward, no matter how tough things seem to get.
Those people in our world and lives, more often than not, are acting as good followers of God.
Now, for some, the whole idea of God and being Christian can feel a little old-fashioned, something your parents or their parents talk about or go to Church for, part of their way of doing things, part of their lives.
But their lives don’t start or end in church, and they keep that hope and light with them wherever they go, and against whatever they face. Because their faith and love don’t stop at the doors of a church. They carry it with them wherever they go.
Because the challenges of life are made just a little easier when they know God is with them.
Promises Between You And God
Now, it’s not like life just becomes a cakewalk if you say you follow God of course. God has some principles that he asks you to follow as best you can. But because of that, or perhaps even from those rules, God lays out promises for us.
You can call them rewards, but that’s a little limiting for something said by the Father of all there is. They’re as much a statement about those who put their faith and trust in him. That even if they struggle to follow God’s teachings all the time, the fact that they try anyway is proof to Him, that is, to God, that His love is always with you, no matter how tough or bleak things look at that moment.
For a better way of picturing what the promises of God mean, imagine for a second, that you are a vessel of some kind, a cup or a bottle. Every promise God made is like another drop of water in that vessel, each one building on the last and slowly filling the bottle up.
Those promises are like a thirst being quenched and help quell that sense of fullness you might have felt that you have been missing. They’ll help take the full weight off things, knowing that God is with you in those times you feel weighed down by everything around you.
It’s kind of as Jesus says about himself, and therefore God, in John 16: 33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
This is to say if you have followed God’s words, or the words of the bible as best you can, then you can stand against anything. After all, if Jesus, God on Earth, is your ally, and He can conquer death, what can’t be beaten?
With that in mind, it’s about time that we discuss some of these promises God has made, and what they mean to you and me.
How Many Promises Did God Make?
It might almost be easier to talk about what promises God didn’t make!
There are thousands of promises of all kinds in the bible, both the old and the new testaments.
Because the words of the bible are all God’s words, merely spoken by different people, then it is safe to say that the words can be trusted, because God cannot lie, as He can only speak the truth.
For example, when Joshua is talking about the promises he made to the people of Isreal, he states: ‘Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.’ (Joshua, 21:45)
Indeed, God has made promises to many of his followers, with the intent to stay true to them if they carried out his plans on Earth.
To Jeremiah, he said about the exodus, the forced and mass leaving, of his people to Babylon: ‘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)
This is to say that God would not make a promise to his followers if he could not keep it, and since he is the only power of good, with no equal, if he made a promise, he intended to fulfill it.
With that in mind, it is probably safe to say that every time God made a promise to one of his prophets or followers, it was a promise he intended to fulfill, even if perhaps, it is on a scale that those he spoke too might not be able to understand.
Let’s take a look at some more specific promises God made about specific things that we face in everyday life., and what we can learn from His word.
God’s Promises On Frustration And Anger
Often, when something awful happens to us or those we care about, we can allow our emotions to get the better of us.
Maybe it’s been a long day just full of terrible things, perhaps a wrongs been done to us by someone we trusted, or it has just been a long day of little acts done against us that just build up inside us.
It can be tempting to just let it all out at something, just to get it out of our system so that we can return to some level of normal that we can cope with. But God teaches us that letting this burning frustration get the better of us won’t do us any good in the long term.
When talking about the early Christians and how they are treated by, and how they should treat the Gentiles, the wealthier, non-christian upper classes of Jesus’ day, who often mistreated those early followers, he says this:
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,”
(Ephesians, 4: 26)
Now, what does this tell us about how we should treat those that wrong us?
It’s easy to say ‘it just means we should forgive them and be done with it, but there’s a little more to it than that. Yes, forgiveness is a great thing to be able to give someone, but God would not give such a simple promise without explanation.
The wider meaning of this trying to say that yes, you have been wronged. You have been hurt. And it wasn’t right for that to have happened to you. It is okay to feel this way if you have been treated badly.
But to let that anger get the better of you, to try and do that same thing to them or someone else is also wrong. To let yourself do that to someone else is to be as hurtful as the person who did it to you. Just because you were hurt, does not mean that it is okay to hurt others.
The promise of God in this sense is that it is okay to feel angry that someone else has mistreated you. And if you can stop that pain and anger from being given to someone else by yourself, then God will protect you from that dark intention to hurt others that have happened to the person who has hurt you.
God’s Promises On Fear
Often, there are periods of our life where we will be in a position we have not been in before. Maybe it’s moving to a new place, maybe you’re going off to a new school or college, maybe you’re about to start a new job. Perhaps a loved one who helped guide you is no longer with you anymore.
These are all big moments of change for any of us, and more regularly than not, the people that were with us before won’t be coming with us anymore.
And that’s a tough thing to have to accept, that a big part of our lives is not going to be there now. It makes a whole new task or experience that much more difficult.
In times like these, it is helpful to think of what Moses said to his followers, who he had led for decades at that point, soon before he was to pass away, and as someone new was going to be decided by God to lead them:
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.’
The promise from God here is that he has given us these rules to live by, and they were taught to us by Him and by those around us. Our teachers, our friends, our families.
Those rules, even if not everyone who taught us those rules is with us right now, are still there, and if we follow them as best we can, those lessons they left with us are. What we learned from them is still there to help us when we need them.
So long as we stick to them, not only will they continue to help us into the future, but we will be bringing a part of them with us going into that future.
In a certain kind of way, the principles that God sets out for us will still be with us. Even when those that taught them are gone, the lessons stay with us in the most difficult of times.
So, in a sense, even the principles we are taught that are difficult to follow, are still their kind of promise from God. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, those rules show us that God will always keep his promises.