When Promises Are Broken

Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. Joshua 21:45

MP900399735With tears freely flowing down her face she asked me one simple question. “Why do people break their promises?”

I stood there for some time thinking and praying before I tried to answer. The question seemed simple enough and the simple answer is “Man is sinful and is unable to keep all the promises he makes.” But she needed more, her heart had deeper questions. Too many times promises had been made and broken. With each broken promise another piece of her heart would also break. She feared that soon there would be nothing left.

I sat there wondering what I could tell her. Life had all too often shown me that promises are made to be broken. In fact I decided long ago that I wouldn’t believe in promises any longer. It was easier. Less painful. I’ve even tried not making promises because I don’t want to break them. I don’t want to have to disappoint someone when I can’t do what I said I would do.

I looked into her eyes and decided to just be honest. “People do make promises they can’t keep. In most cases I do not think they mean to. I don’t think that they make a promise with the intention to not follow through. It just happens. Life gets busy and they forget.”

Her tears continued to flow. My answer wasn’t enough. Her heart still breaking she asked, “but is it just me? Do people just not like me? Do they not want to be my friend? It just seems mean to make a promise and not keep it!”

She was still young and trying hard to wrap her mind around the deep hurt she felt with a promise broken once again.

“Oh God” I cried to myself, “give me the words!”

I sat there holding her. I truly did understand the hurt. How many times have friends or family said “I promise I will….” only to forget? How many times have I done the same? We try hard to not expect so much from those we love, but when they promise it is a bit harder.

The words began to form in my heart. I spoke them aloud. “I know it hurts. It seems unfair. It may feel that they do it on purpose, but we must choose to believe that they love us. We must choose to believe it’s not intentional. Regardless of how it feels at the moment we must choose to love them by offering grace and forgiveness. We must take the hurt and disappointment to the cross.”

God understands our hurt. He understands broken promises. Man makes promises to God all the time, they promise to follow Him, to do His will only to turn away and reject Him.

So instead of looking at man, who will disappoint us, we need to look to God. For "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

We need to run to our God who never makes a promise He does not keep. In fact Psalms 145:13 says “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.”

Psalms 91:4 tells us that “He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” and Psalms 138:2 says “I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.”

So you can trust God to keep all His promises. He is with you and will give you what you need in those moments of hurt because man has broken his promise.”

Her tears had stopped flowing as the words I spoke began to reach her heart. He countenance began to soften. There was a long silence between us as she sat there allowing God to speak into her.

Then she said, “It just hurts so bad, when someone you love so dearly breaks a promise. But you are right, if I do love them I will give them grace. And I will give them grace upon grace for it is what God does to us when we hurt Him.”

No truer words were spoken! For one so young her understanding was very mature. I saw in her face an understanding that only comes from our Father.

If we do indeed love those that occasionally hurt us then our love will meet disappointment and broken promises with God’s grace each and every time. It will not always be easy, but it is a choice. It’s a choice we can make because not only do we love the one who hurt us but even more so because we love God and desire to be obedient to Him.

Something amazing happened as these words were shared. I found that my own heart needed to hear them. I needed to be reminded that it’s a fact that people will fail me. I will fail them. But at the cross of Jesus we all find love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. And when I choose to press into Him and not the hurt He promises to meet me in the midst of it all with more of Him. He will meet me with the comfort of His Spirit.

"Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. Joshua 23:14


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