[#pictureLent] February 22: PROMISE

10 Feb 22 Promise-01.jpg

By Esther Rodriguez
Tice UMC, Pastor
Fort Myers, FL

First, read Romans 4:13-18

I have been trying to think back at when I have ever promised anything or anyone has promised something to me. The only ones I can think of were with persons well-known to me – friends and family. 

I suppose one can make promises to a stranger: that you’ll pay your bill soon even though it’s already late or that you will bring back something borrowed. But those promises seem more as gambles than when you think of a trusted person’s promise. 

The only reason why God’s promise meant anything to Abraham, and continued to be significant in his life even in the moments that didn’t make sense, was because of their relationship. Not the sometimes cheesy” relationship with God” language we hear tossed around but the messy, back-and-forth, leading to great sacrifice relationship, as relationships are kind of relationship.

In Romans, Paul is talking about God’s relationship with Abraham in the context of promise and trust because boy did it require trust. God is not a stranger or untrustworthy acquaintance for either Abraham or Paul, and this God has promised wonders that go against all hope.

This God is the one to whom Abraham was somehow willing to trust to work it out when God asked him to sacrifice his son. It’s the one for whom Paul risked and gave everything, including his life. 

It’s the One for whom many Jews continued to pray in the days of concentration camps. It’s the one for whom persons in North Korea, Somalia and other places continue to worship despite risk of death. 

It’s the same God who despite signs of a world gone crazy, a culture of illusion, denial, and despair calls us to truth, grief, and hope because that God has promised to be trustworthy as we live in faith.

Prayer: God of grace and promise; we thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your patience with our lack of trust. Thank you that you already know that we struggle with trust, and still you promise, and still you are present. Thank you for those who trust when there’s nothing left to do. Lead us into a greater trust of you. Lead us into the courage to trust your promises and to live into what those promises call us. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you believe in God’s promises in Scripture (Abraham’s, Jesus being with us always, the completion of all things, etc.)?
  2. Has God promised you things individually? Do you believe in them?
  3. What do you think you need to better trust in God’s promises? What might Scripture have to say about that request?