The other day my friend Kim and I exchanged the following messages via text:
The concept of parents getting into trouble when they “promise” their kids something was introduced to me by something that happened to my uncle, and your fellow member, Gordon Cort. A long, long time ago, when his son Chris was about five or six, Gordon told him that he would take off work and they would spend the day at Wild World (now Six Flags). Unfortunately, Gordon hadn’t looked at the weather forecast for the day that he promised the trip would take place. It called for severe thunderstorms and the weatherpeople got it right. It rained and poured and flashed lightening – so much so that the park closed.
Unfortunately, Mr. Chris didn’t understand the dangers associated with roller coasters and lightening. All he knew was that his dad “promised” to take him to Wild World and now he was reneging on the promise. It didn’t matter how much we tried to explain – all he kept saying was, “But Daddy, you promised!”
While you may be laughing at Gordon’s predicament (Chris was pretty mad at him for several days), this concept of promises is a serious thing! Until they realize that their parents aren’t omnipotent, children take their parents at their word. If we parents say we are going to do something, or that such and such is going to happen, they expect exactly that to happen – mitigating circumstances notwithstanding.
Parents like Kim and me, realizing that pretty much nothing is completely under our control, learn quickly that you don’t ever promise anything; otherwise you will be stuck trying to explain to a six-year-old why the executives at Wild World decided to close their amusement park in the middle of a severe thunderstorm. Parents can’t always keep our promises. The child who doesn’t get to go to Wild World starts to develop the idea that you can’t really trust anything that people say – they don’t always keep their promises.
I think subconsciously this affects how we view Jesus. We don’t trust that He will keep our promises to us. From the parents’ perspective – we have the idea that there’s no way that everything can be completely under His control. Our bread and water will always be sure? He has plans to prosper us? That would mean He controls everything – and He doesn’t, right?
To the children – nobody keeps their promises all the time; why would He? He’ll never leave or forsake me? People left me when I needed them. I’ll receive anything I ask for in His name? No one’s been able to give me everything I asked for – why should He?
In 2014, I want to challenge us to take Jesus at His word. He is the only One who can keep all of His promises. But even more reassuring is that he doesn’t just have the ability to keep His promises, He will keep them. And that’s a promise you can count on! Thunderstorm or no thunderstorm.