Over the last several days since my previous blog post, I have done a lot of reflecting and praying. It has been difficult for me to really dig deep into the truth about who God is as a Father, and not think about my own dad. The reflection and prayer have had me making notes of where some of my emotional scars have been left behind by my earthly dad, as well as it has caused me to face how those scars have hindered or skewed how I have viewed God along the way. It is still a process at times. There are still times the scars I have cause me to struggle to trust Him, but reminding myself of His truth gets me back on track every time.
This week I want to discuss God’s promises, and the fact that He always shows up.
Growing up, I had a dad that would constantly make promises he didn’t keep. I don’t know if he made them knowing he would never keep them, or if he was one of those people that had good intentions but lacked the follow through. He wasn’t around often enough for me to know. I learned the hard way that you couldn’t take anything he said to heart, and that seeing was believing with him. I learned that pretty much everything he ever said was too good to be true. When I was in 4th grade, my dad sat me on his lap, told me how proud he was of me, and told me all about President Grant. The point behind that was that President Grant was on the $50 bill, and if I could keep good grades (I can’t remember now if it was straight A’s or if it was A’s and B’s) that Grant was all mine. We shook on it, and I kept my grades up. Time passed, and eventually we reached the end of the school year. I kept up my end of the deal, but he never did. It may seem like a small insignificant thing but its just one of many examples where ultimately his word meant nothing. I could do everything I knew how to hold up my end of the bargain, but it wasn’t enough. A promise meant nothing coming from my dad even if it wasn’t related to my efforts, and eventually it trained my heart to not take any promises seriously. This included promises from God. I have ended up with a faith that contradicts biblical example. I have walked by sight, and not by faith. I have needed to see God follow through time and time again, before I could trust His word, and His promises to me.
My dad was one who also failed to show up. He would say he was coming, and then never did. One time that stands out the most to me was my “sweet 16” birthday. My birthday party wasn’t anything elaborate as far as parties are concerned, but it was meaningful to me. I’d venture to say that many American kids look forward to their 16th birthday. Maybe it’s over glamorized, but when you’re the one turning 16, it’s a pretty big deal. For my birthday party we went to a local park, had a big barbeque, and played games and celebrated with my friends and family. No matter how many people came out to celebrate my birthday with me, a piece was missing. I looked over my shoulder a majority of the time waiting for him to show up. Then he did, just long enough to drive through the parking lot without stopping, he didn’t even slow down. I was crushed. My own dad ditched my birthday party. My parents weren’t in a relationship at that point in my life so it wasn’t like I would see him at home later. The most I saw of my dad on my 16th birthday, in front of all of my friends, was his tail-lights. Once again, he didn’t show up. That was over 15 years ago, and it still stings. I have never been able to listen to the song “Just another birthday” by Casting Crowns without getting teary eyed. (Sixteen finds me blowing out candles and making wishes, and all around me is everyone but the one I’m wishing for. And he sent me flowers and gift-wrapped excuses from a daddy whose daughter wants to see him again. And I know, I know it’s just another birthday, but I guess I thought this would be the one when he would call me, see me hold me and free me, but it’s just another birthday and I’ll be fine.) Examples like this one left me doubting that God shows up when He says He will, when I need Him, when something is a big deal to me. Am I worth more than just the tail-lights in His eyes?
Please let me stop here and say I AM NOT PERFECT. I have made promises that I have not kept. I am not proud of that, but I am human (and so is my dad) but the point I’m trying to make is that when we draw our perspective of who God is, from a fallible human example, we’re going to get it twisted, skewed, and wrong. If my daughters drew their perspective of who God is, from who I am as a human, they will have an inaccurate view of who God REALLY is. Even when I try my best to love them, and parent them the way He would want me to I don’t measure up to Him. None of us do. That doesn’t excuse us from trying, but the truth is the only way we can get a real, pure view of who God is as our Daddy with a capital “D”, is from God Himself, and from His word.
The bible is FULL of promise after promise. These promises aren’t just spoken promises, they are fulfilled promises, and they happened over and over again. Over the last week I have thought many times about how blessed we are to be on this side of the bible. I thought about when the promises were made to Abraham and Sarah regarding Isaac, and eventually the many nations. They had to wait a long time for those promises to be fulfilled. We get the blessing in seeing how the story ends but Abraham and Sarah didn’t. They had nothing more than Gods word to go on. Gods promises seemed utterly impossible, yet He promised, and He kept His word.
That’s not the only promise God made and kept in the bible. What about when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Isaac was that precious son Abraham and Sarah waited SO long for? God showed up at exactly the perfect time, and brought a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead. What about Moses? What about Joseph? What about Hannah? What about Daniel in the lions den, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace?
What about Jesus?
Jesus was promised to us all LONG before He was born.