There is a milestone moment in every child’s life. Some experience it early, others a little later but each child reaches this pivotal moment. When it happens, you are filled with electric excitement and you muster up the courage to approach your parents. You know what I’m talking about. You sit them down and ask, “Mom, Dad, can we get a dog?” (Probably not where you thought this story was going, right? Just stay with me. I’m getting somewhere. I promise.)
I’m not quite sure how old I was when I asked my parents for a puppy, but I was so excited when their response was yes. They said that we could a dog that weekend. I was ecstatic. I built up so much anticipation that I even daydreamed about this dog. I envisioned what it would look like and how much fun it would be. Then the weekend came and my parents told me that we weren’t going to be able to get the dog.
I was devastated. All I could think was “but you said!” I know this sounds like a trivial story, but this is one of the first instances where I began to mistrust people’s word. Before this moment, my parents’ words were fact to me. Every statement was a promise. It was then that I learned that promises could be broken and are to be taken with a grain of salt.
What I didn’t realize about myself is that I carried this mindset into adulthood and into my relationship with God. I knew the promises of God are true, but somewhere in the back of my mind I believed that there was a chance God may not come through. The promises of God seemed optional and uncertain.
Through a series of unfortunate events and unwise decisions, I had recently found myself in a very low place. If you’ve ever struggled with depression you know how hard life can get. If you haven’t struggled with depression, this is the best way I can describe it. Imagine life is a swimming pool that is normally filled with water, so you can move about pretty easily. With depression, life is like a swimming pool filled with butter. Every tiny movement which used to be so fluid is now a struggle and you simply have to trudge through.
On my lowest of days, I managed to build up strength enough to pray and I felt God lead me to a verse: Isaiah 51:3. That’s super specific and I’ll admit I was doubtful. I wondered, what could this verse possibly say to make me feel any better in this moment? When I actually read it, it blew me away. “Likewise I, God, will comfort Zion, comfort all her mounds of ruins. I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden, her moonscape into the garden of God, a place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs.” MSG
God made a promise to me. He promised to comfort and transform me. He said I would be filled with exuberance and laughter. The NLT version says, joy and gladness. He promised me these things at the exact moment I was feeling the complete opposite.
Let me just tell you, the genuine joy and gladness I have experience since I read this promise has been greater than any joy I have experienced in my entire life. I am experiencing the same circumstances and facing the same external trials I was before, but my internal joy is ever present in my life. I am grateful that God truly keeps His promises. They are not uncertain, they are a sure thing.
“I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.” Isaiah 45:19 NLT