Romans 4:13-15 (the message) That famous promise God gave Abraham–that he and his children would possess the earth–was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise–and God’s promise at that–you can’t break it.
I read this words a couple of days ago as I sat outside listening to waves crashing the shore…
Constant. Relentless. Irreversible. I know what to expect when I come to the ocean. Yet the continuity and sameness are not a boring given; they are a mystery, like the one in the scripture above.
Bible in my lap. Looking out across the cloudy, water-filled distance I wanted to shake the enduring burden…slip loose of the timeless knot. Humanity’s entanglement with perfection, earning and proving.
I read the words above and they settled on my heart in a different light. God’s promise to love and sustain me, to save me, is His alone. It’s not mine to break. It’s mine to embrace.
I am bent hard toward earning or at the least proving to Him I’ll be worth His caring. I cannot obtain perfection but hold to this sticky lie that my efforts toward perfection are a worthy offering.
That it could ever mean anything at all.
Instead of offering Creator adoration and gratitude for all I rightly don’t deserve but experience in His grace, I come limping with whimpering cries of anxiety and exhaustion.
The fruit of my proving is bitter.
Roman letter so long ago revealing and reminding. God’s promise never to leave, never to forsake, never to abandon is not mine to break.
This great mystery. Stepping into what has already been done. Putting down our disbelief. No matter how well we follow on some days or terribly we fail on others, the promise of God in our lives is absolute because He made it. We can’t break it. When we begin to believe this, even just a little, our hearts are filled with hope and wonder and expectation.
What else can draw us into deep places of soul rest except love and grace which, like the waves, crash against our hearts so relentlessly?