Updated: Feb 2
As a parent, I know that promises mean a lot to children. If you promise to come to their concert, you better be there. If you promise to see them in their next game, you better not miss it. There is something special about a promise that a child understands better than most adults. Something sacred and unbreakable. Words that hold weight in the heart of a child. Sadly, many of us lose that heartfelt weight of a promise at some point in life.
I was the child of a single mom. My mom did everything in her own power to make sure she didn't miss a concert or a game. She tried to make sure every birthday was meaningful and made us feel special. She loved us very much. At some point though, I learned that mom didn't have super powers and couldn't do it all on her own; no matter how much she tried. There were those moments when I realized that the thing I had been looking forward to wasn't going to happen. It wasn't anyone's fault---it was simply life and I understood that.
Life happens! We can't control everything, and so promises get broken. Not out of lack of love or effort, just simply because life gets in the way sometimes. Plans don't always pan out the way you thought. I learned that very young and I think at some point in life we all learn that. The question is, How does that affect our view of God?
God is the promise keeper, right? We're supposed to remember His promises to us and look forward to the day when they will all be fulfilled! It should be exciting and fill us with great joy, hope, and expectancy. Does it? That's the question we must ask ourselves. Are we truly hopeful about His promises being fulfilled? Do we still have faith for Him to keep His promises?
Abraham struggled with this. He went through life walking the line between believing the promises of God for a son (descendants) and being met with the reality that it wasn't happening and He couldn't make it happen on His own. He had to learn to trust in God's covenant to Him over His current reality. He had to keep his eyes on the promise, or he would've lost his way in life.
Moses had to remain focused on the promise that always seemed out of reach; the promised land. He had to remain focused so he wouldn't be defeated and discouraged by the everyday reality of wandering the desert. He had to do this all while leading a group of people who battered him with disbelief daily. How did Moses stay encouraged when the people were constantly trying to discourage him and pull him down? It was God reminding him to look forward towards the promise. It was God's presence ever present before Moses.
When I look at the many stories like this in the Bible I notice people who in many ways are like me. Wavering between hope and discouragement on the journey to the promised land. But when I look at their life I notice one thing that always encourages me to stay focused on what's ahead of me and not what's behind. They all remembered the promise and went towards it. They believed the promise-making God was a promise-keeping God. They stood on the promises no matter what the terrain looked like. No matter how difficult it got. They remembered, they believed, and they hoped for the day when the promise would be fulfilled. Armies, famine, barreness, kings, and giants wouldn't deter them from what God said was theirs. They believed and trusted God with everything.
I want to be able to stand undeterred by what lies ahead. Steadily moving towards the promises of God. But how do we do this? Like Abraham and Moses, we remember the promise and keep our eyes focused on it. When we stop looking at everything trying to get in our way and throw us off course, we begin to walk fearlessly and confidently towards what God has set before us. If the scriptures show us anything, they show us that we can trust God to keep His promises. We can trust Him to be faithful and to not let us down in the end.
Teaching children about the promises of God gives them hope for the future and allows them to see past the disappointments of the day. Learning about the promises that have been fulfilled by God, lets kids see that God is a promise keeper. We can trust Him, because He cannot lie. This allows kids to look at the promises yet to be fulfilled with hope and expectancy because God will not go against His own word. He is faithful and true to complete the promises He has made.
If you are looking for a curriculum on the promises of God, check out our new release: Keep Your Eyes on the Promise.