Monday, 7 November 2011

Standing on your promises

Well, Lord, I'm here gazing at the church tower from out of my bedroom window once again; repeat performance of whatever bug made me ill last week. 

It's not much fun. I am becoming a connoisseur of indigestion remedies. At the moment I am swaying in favour of fruit flavour ones as the mint ones have a bit of an unpalatable aftertaste. The best are cherry, I think, followed by orange. The lemon ones seem to have more calories than the others, believe it or not. I've read the information leaflet and the back of the packet. 

Ah, calcium carbonate. Do your thing with my dicky tummy, would you?

Yesterday I was driving somewhere and I put on my worship CD.  Because Katy is now at school, and the school is only walking distance away I find I'm driving less, and though this is good from a petrol cost/environmental point of view sadly it does mean that I listen less to my worship CDs. But yesterday it was on and a song jumped out at me.

It was Stuart Townend's 'Every Promise' and it made me think. 
From the breaking
of the dawn...

'From the breaking of the dawn to the setting of the sun,
I will stand on every promise of your word.
Words of power, strong to save, that will never pass away,
I will stand on every promise of your word.
For your covenant is sure,
And on this I am secure - 
I can stand on every promise of your word.'

The truth of this struck me. The Bible is full of promises and you keep your word. 

'...I'll faithfully do all that I solemnly promised.' 
Psalm 89:34 The Message

If you say that you'll do something, then you'll do it. 

Which means, for people like me who find living life a tiring, confusing, sometimes hazardous and nearly always a troublesome proposition, that we can count on you. That we can indeed find strength and safety and power by hanging onto your Word. Something to hold onto.

And I do need something to hold onto.

I worry. You know how I worry. I actually think that I'm better than I used to be, but I still have problems with anxiety. Sometimes I wake up in a morning and there's a moment when I can't quite place the anxious feeling and then whatever the particular day's troubles might be come crashing in. I give my worries to you and I take them back again. I've been trying to break the cycle for a while now and it's a 'two steps forward, one step back' sort of process. 

You tell me not to worry about things. Don't worry about what I will eat (how much money there is in the bank) or what I'll wear (what people think when they look at my clothes or the things I have). The Bible tells me that you know what I need. In your word, you promise:

'Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.'

Matthew 6, 33

I can stand on your promises. I must remember this when I have a panic about the mortgage, or the pension plan...

To the setting of the sun...
I sometimes feel as if I am the only person who has ever felt like I do. Quite often I cast about looking for someone to talk to and I feel desperate to find someone who understands so that I don't feel so lost. Sometimes I can be in a crowd of people in church and feel like the loneliest person in the world.  I have felt on occasion that I might be going mad because I am so emotionally mixed up and confused and I don't know how to express how I feel or what to do to feel better.

You know me and you are with me.

You made me. You know every thought that I have and you alone understand the way my mind works. The amazing thing is that you know all that and still, you love me.

'If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me;
even there your right hand will hold me fast.'

Psalm 139:8-10

There is nowhere I can go that you won't come with me. You will hold me fast. You will be there when no-one else is. You will never leave me.

'...and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'

Matthew 28:20

Lord Jesus Christ, you are with me. You said you will never leave me and you won't let me down.

'I will stand on every promise of your word.'

So often I know what I should do and I don't do it. I amaze myself that I can know what the right thing to do is, and then choose to do something else. There are things in my life that I know are wrong and I've brought them before you time and time again and made such promises that I won't do it again...and then I do it again. It sometimes feels as if it's too much to ask, to expect me to get it right all the time. Trying is such hard work and I blow it over and over again. Can it really be that you don't hold it against me? That somehow, even though I know that you died to save me, my constant failure to live up to my family name doesn't mark me out as a bit of a waste of space?

'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.'

1 John 1:9

You keep on forgiving. You said you will, and you don't break promises. And it also says in the Bible that you don't keep a secret tally...

'Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord doesn't count against him...'

Psalm 32:1,2

This year has been a roller coaster of good things and bad things. Insights and dead ends. Exhilaration and disappointment. Hope and despair. Excitement and depression. I knew that you were taking me somewhere this year and I climbed on board enthusiastically and I suspect that I'll be ending the year feeling a little bit travel sick, a little bit bruised, a little bit wary. One thing that I do know, though, more than ever, is that you have a Plan for me and that you want the best for me.

"'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 29:10-12

I wish that you'd send me an email with your plan on it, Lord. Sometimes even though I know it's there I haven't a clue which way to go. I can't work it out. It'd be so much easier if there was a map. I know that you just want me to depend on you each step of the way. It's just not easy. I feel a bit as if I'm wandering about in the dark. I've set off somewhere because you held out your hand and asked me to come with you and now I'm out of my depth and I couldn't find my way back if I wanted to.

You said that you won't abandon me halfway there, though. You promised. If you start something, you finish it.

'...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.'

Philippians 1:6

I am loved, I am forgiven, I am not alone, I am part of a plan and I am a work in progress.

It is enormously reassuring that in a world where the sand under our feet is endlessly shifting; where everyone inevitably lets each other down and nothing seems safe or reliable that you never change. You are certain when everything seems uncertain. You are eternal. You are my Rock.

I will stand on every promise of your word.


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