Everyone likes people who keep their promises. I not only like people who keep their promises, but have a really hard time being in relationship with people who do not. By personality keeping promises is easy for me. If I tell you I'll call at 7-I will. If I tell you I'll pray for you-I will. Part of that is I don't have a whole lot in my life that can put me off schedule except me! I certainly have grace for my friends with small children who have to change clothes at the last minute because somebody puked or have to change plans at the last minute because their husband has to work late, etc. etc. But as a general rule? I'm just real happy with people who do what they say they'll do.
Lately I've been thinking so much about the promises of God. He has been reminding me in so many ways that his promises are true. They're not just the words to a hymn or a catchy Christian cliche. They're real. When He says he will never leave us he means, wait for it, that He'll never leave us! And yet, the first time I get in a bind I immediately wonder where he went. When He promises to never give us more than we can carry, He means His strength is sufficient unto our needs. And yet the first time life gets a little heavy I think God must have forgotten! Right.
I promised my dogs on Friday I would take them for a walk. A bunch of weird stuff happened and I didn't. I promised them I would take them for a walk Sunday night no matter how late I got home from work. A bunch of even crazier stuff happened and I didn't. I promised I would take them for a walk Monday morning before work, "No matter what." Still dealing with some stuff from the weekend, I didn't. I sat on the floor Monday morning before work and told them that I promised (for real) that I would take them for a walk when I got home. Promise.
Now intellectually I realize they have no idea what day it is. I don't really think they even know what time it is. And I know they're "just dogs." Really, I do. But it was bothering me that I was not keeping my promises to them-besides they deserve to go for a walk and I'm their only way to hit the road! So last night I ran a few errands, got home and put 3 collars on 3 very excited dogs. It might have behooved me to look out the door while I was harnassing the beasts because as soon as I opened my garage door I realized it was POURING DOWN RAIN! I'll also mention that I'm the only one of the 4 of us that noticed!
So what's a girl with 2 cocker spaniels chomping at the bit and big lab paw prints all over her shirt supposed to do? We went for a walk. A long walk. I mean once you're soaking wet (and we were!) what difference does it make?
Sometimes God speaks the clearest during the unexpected ordinariness of our days. I have been praying for several people in my life who are struggling and facing my own confusion with the Lord over some things to the point of driving myself crazy of questions without answers. I don't know what I think about the Lord "speaking" to people as in like He comes down here and we discuss my life over coffee, but I know he speaks to us in lots of ways. Although I should add
A-N-Y-T-I-M-E He feels like stopping by is okay by me :) But, as I was walking and thinking and praying last night all while wondering if rain water is bad for my hair color (Ha!), it was like the Lord said to my spirit - "Sometimes I make the promise before I send the rain."
Wow. Wow. Wow.
Sometimes He promises to be with us before he brings us to a place where he is all we have.
Sometimes He promises that He is sufficient long before we stand desperately in need of grace.
Sometimes He promises never to give us more than we can hold right before the load we are carrying seems unbearable.
Sometimes the promise comes first, and then comes the rain.
After walking 2 miles in the rain we finally got back to my house. I was soaked, they were soaked, and they were muddy. I unclipped Shine the lab and put her in the fence and walked around to the side of my house. I looked back only to see that the rain had completely stopped. And maybe it's just my imagination, but just for my own situation with the cares and concerns in my own life I felt like God was saying, "I send the promise, I send the rain, and I send the relief. In my time."
I have been praying for some friends who are facing amazing health challenges, friends who desperatley need direction and friends who more than their next breath need a Savior. My favorite prayer to pray for people is, "Let there be light." Sometimes we just need a ray of light to shine through the darkness of our circumstance and with it the reminder that God keeps His promises.