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The promises of God. The sweet-tasting, life-giving promises of God. I can’t give enough examples of how these promises have manifested hope in my life. Those who are humble, He will give grace:

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (James 4:6).

He loves righteousness and justice; He has not abandoned us to life on earth without Him:

“He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5).

He delights in the joy He provides for His beloved:

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10).

Placing your trust in the Lord is a blessing:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord” (Jer. 17:7).

The promises of God are an endless well to draw from. It’s a source that our Father consistently refers us back to. With passions that rage against righteousness and hearts that are easily deceived, it is out of love that He redirects us to His unshakable character. God’s promises have never lied or let us down. Abram’s trust and faith in God became more real to me over the past few months than ever before.

I have been struggling with the weight of time – its open-endedness, its vast and imaginative untold stories of impact on my life. Where will I be in my career? Will I always be single? How much longer until things change dramatically? Am I ready for those changes? The fear, the growing pains, the stress all piling up and weighing me down.

The weight has affected my outlook. Its effect has caused a burden of expectations that I build up in my mind. I didn’t know how to describe it to my brother and sisters in Christ. The closest I came was “I’m fine spiritually, but my flesh is fearful.” I believe with every fiber of my being that God is sovereign. So why am I struggling with this pain?

Studying Abram brought me to a deeper understanding of the issue. Abram believes wholeheartedly that God will fulfill His promise to multiply his offspring. Abram tries to expedite God’s promise through Ishmael (Genesis 16). God tells Abram that Ishmael is not the promise He spoke of. Around 15 years later, Isaac was born, and Abraham (formerly Abram) was filled with joy in seeing God’s promises come to life.

In Genesis 22, Abraham is commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Abraham obeys all the way up to thrusting the knife into his son. I have read this story a thousand times, and never has it baffled me in this new way. What changed? Why did Abram taint his faith with Ishmael but was willing to sacrifice the promise God had made?

“(Abraham) grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:20-21).

Abraham’s journey of hope was placed in the promise of God and not the results he had placed in his mind. Abraham had faith and trust that God would deliver on His promises regardless of if it was through Isaac or another.

Do you see? My handle of trust in God’s promises was cut short by the image of what I had created on my own. The image of what family looks like, what a career looks like, what change looks like defined my success in God’s promises. He promises trust, blessings, joy, grace, righteousness, justice, family. What He does not promise is how I define those things.

My brothers and sisters, I’d like to encourage you with this blessing the Lord has poured out on me. Do not define any of God’s promises to align with your ideas of what the result of His promises are. Your image of children, home, success, love, marriage, singleness, money, power, sex, men, women, retirement, debt, friendships, pride, peace can ruin your life. Hold fast to His promises for what they are and not what you think they should be.