Promises, Promises

Has God’s steadfast love forever ceased? Are God’s promises at an end for all time? – Psalm 77:8 (NRSV)

You’ve been burned before. Your trust has been bent to the limit, then snapped. Politicians. Lovers. Broadband providers. That very expensive eye cream. Western civilization. The church. They promised so much, and it hardly matters whether they simply tried and failed, or never intended to honor their promises in the first place.

The result is the same: a smaller capacity to trust, a larger cynicism.

They say God isn’t like the ones who let you down, is bigger than the pressures and failings that make us fail each other, is trustworthy. But when it seems like you’ve been let down by everyone and everything you used to trust, such claims can be hard to buy. It’s hard not to look at God with the same jaded eye you’ve begun to cast on everything else. “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age,” the creator of heaven and earth croons, and you roll your eyes. “Promises, promises,” you sneer, and resume doom scrolling.

If that is—or has ever been—you, then you’re in good company. We’ve all been there. Some of us are still there. Some of us go back and forth from day to day, or within a day. You’re not alone.

And still we hold hope that the ancestors were right when they said what they said about God’s trustworthiness. We’ve caught a glimpse of it, and we’re trying to let that glimpse turn into a whole new vision for the future. Want to come with? Bring your cynicism. Bring your burn scars. But be sure you bring, too, that little bit of hope you still have, that despite everything you’ve been through, someday you might still meet a gorgeous, sweet-talking god who won’t let you down.

We might be deluding ourselves. But there’s only one way to find out for sure. So what do you say? One more try?

Cynicism comes easily for me, God. Hope is a little harder. Keep me company—I’d like to try again.

Promises, PromisesAbout the Author
This devotional is excerpted from Promises, Promises: 2021 Lent Devotional, a collection of daily readings for the upcoming Lenten season. Order Promises, Promises here.