When promises don’t work out

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Photo credit: Beverley Goodwin

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about promises from God. We know promises are given by God but how do we walk in the good of them? What do you do when you have your promise and yet circumstances just don’t seem to line up with what God’s said will happen? What do we do while we’re waiting and how do we strengthen our faith?

God gives us promises all the time. There’s plenty of them in the Bible and sometimes God just lays certain promises on our hearts, specific things to us or our families. Promises are God’s word about certain situations and full of hope, yet often they can seem to completely contradict what our circumstances reflect.

I believe God gives promises for several reasons: to give hope, direction and in order that we might put our faith in something tangible. Promises are not given so that we might vaguely hope in them and yet also think about all the alternatives. Promises are meant to give us security and confidence.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

– Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews describes faith as evidence. This is not airy fairy wishful thinking, this is a complete confidence and trust in God’s word over our circumstances as they currently stand. They’re evidence because if God has said it, He will do it.

I love reading about Abraham in the Bible. What an incredible man! He was given promises and they directed the course of his life. Here he was, an old man who’d been promised a baby. This was not any baby, but a baby through whom the whole world would be blessed. This promise was massive!

Here’s what Romans says about Abraham.

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

– Romans 4: 19-21

Just look at that. He was not weak in faith, he did not consider the negativity of his circumstances, he did not waver at God’s promise, but was strengthened in faith giving glory to God. Fully convinced God was able to do what God has promised.

Wow, reading those verses hit me so much! This man’s circumstances were not looking good. The promise of God by all natural terms seemed highly unlikely. His body was old, his wife’s womb was dead. How often do we pat ourselves on the back for having faith when we can see how things could work out as God has said and yet this man was strengthened in faith even when everything was bad; when everything looked unlikely.

He did not consider. Abraham did not even think about the alternative. He didn’t ponder on ‘what if it doesn’t happen’, he didn’t try and protect himself by thinking about the worst case scenario in case his hope was dashed. He was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. There is something very powerful about setting our mind on God’s promises and speaking out our worship to God concerning them. As we do it strengthens our faith.

I can tell you that I know from experience that many times when we are waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled there is a waiting game. Things don’t happen instantly. Abraham knew that, many other heroes in the Bible knew that.

But God has given you that promise so that while you wait, while circumstances may look dim, you might have hope. More than that, you might have evidence of how things will turn out. But very often, when we live in world full of negativity, fear and ‘what ifs’ we actually need to do something with that promise.

We need to put our mind on it and not even allow ourselves to think of the opposite. When you feel like you’re losing hope, thank God; thank Him for what He will do, for His goodness and His faithfulness. As you do you will be strengthened in your faith.

Perhaps God’s promise will turn out a certain way eventually regardless of how you act or think now, but how much better is it to be able to stand in confidence and assurance now while waiting for the fulfilment. Remaining in peace rather than in anxiety, constantly worrying or thinking of the alternatives in case God doesn’t do what He has promised.

As the Bible puts it, what God has promised, He is able to perform! Today if you have promises from God, hold onto them. Remind yourself of them, setting your mind only on those promises, not on ‘what ifs’ and thank God for what He will do!

If you think this will encourage someone then why not share it. x

2 thoughts on “When promises don’t work out

  1. Hey Kate … That’s brilliant many of us were at the colour conference and Joyce Meyer spoke about keeping a good attitude when others get what we have been praying for. She talked about how when Noah had a promise from God – he got a beautiful rainbow! Whereas for Abraham – he had circumcision! Difficult, painful and probably made him extremely unpopular! It reminded me that while we get many rainbows and amazing blessing and favour, sometimes stepping into the promises and pushing for breakthrough requires real strength and endurance and we may go through a lot of pain on the way ….. Let’s determine to support each other through the tough ones and celebrate the good ones

    1. Hi Hazel, thank you. Wow that’s so true. I’d never thought of that before. Something I’m realising though is very often the more the pain, the greater the gain. Sometimes it’s only when we go through those really hard things that we are able to see a new side of God’s character that we’ve not known before. xxx

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