Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
Thanksgiving dinner had come and gone. Promises had been made and not been kept. Elizabeth lay on her bed, thinking about all the unkept promises in the months past. The time Dad said he would be there for her birthday and wasn’t. The time he said he would be there for her school program and never showed up. All the times he said he would call more often and that didn’t happen.
And now this. Thanksgiving. He had told her he would come to join them. He said he wanted to be there. They had even put off dinner for bit, waiting to see if he would show. But he didn’t. It was another Thanksgiving dinner with her family incomplete.
As prayers of thanksgiving went up around the table, Elizabeth was surprised to hear some of them. Grandpa George had said he was thankful for his son-in-law who provided for his family in spite of circumstances. Mom had said she was thankful that they were still a family and that no legal action had taken place. Her little brother said he was thankful that Dad loved them. All Elizabeth could muster was a thank you for the food.
What was up with these people? Didn’t they realize that Dad had broken yet another promise? Couldn’t they see that he wasn’t the “good” person they all said he was? Didn’t they understand that he didn’t care about them anymore?
These thoughts swirled around in Elizabeth’s head, feeding on each other, growing larger with each turn around her head. Then it was like she actually heard…… “Stop!” Where did that come from? Elizabeth realized that it had come from inside.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
As the last negative thought swirled away, echoing its “but…but…but….,” Elizabeth heard her mother’s voice, quiet and tender, yet firm. “Your dad is still a good person. He WANTS to do what he knows is right. He just can’t right now. He has been taken captive by the enemy who has filled his mind with garbage and wrong ideas. Your dad loves us and I know he loves Christ. He deserves our love.”
Elizabeth remembered asking her mom how they could help, what they could do. Her mom’s answer? Prayer. Her dad couldn’t get out of where he was right now by himself. He needed help. He needed their prayers. He needed their respect. He needed their unconditional love and their forgiveness. He needed their perseverance. He needed to draw close to Christ once again.
Elizabeth HAD been praying for Dad, but as she thought about it, she realized that she had been praying for “circumstances,” not salvation. She had been praying for what SHE wanted, not what Dad needed. She had been praying for things to happen a certain way, not really understanding that it was God’s way that was best.
As she thought about this, she once again heard that word, “but.” This time, though, it was different. Yes, Dad had moved out, but he still provided for his family. Yes, their family was divided, but no divorce had taken place. Yes, Dad had done some wrong things, but he was still a good man. Yes, Dad had broken some promises, but he had also kept some. Yes, Dad was somewhere he shouldn’t be, but God could bring him home.
As these thoughts echoed in her head, Elizabeth heard the doorbell ring. Shortly she heard excited voices and welcoming words. Dad had promised he would be home for Thanksgiving and he had kept that promise. Something else Elizabeth realized….God had kept His promise, too.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20-21
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
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