Recently, a close friend died after a six-year struggle with cancer. A few days after her death, my husband and I attended a wedding. As the bride and groom exchanged vows, I pondered on the issue of making a promise. It was beautiful to witness two excited young people in their twenties pledging to share their lives together. But it was profound to recall the faithfulness of our recently departed friend. She and her husband had kept their marriage vows for more than half a century. Even when the final years were darkened by his memory loss and general health decline, they remembered their promise, “… to love and to hold till death do us part.” But this has changed with time. People no longer keep promises or vows they make to each other.
We seem to be living in the last days. Standards that have stood the test of time are being violated and flattened with impunity all around us. Crime, lawlessness, killings and so on seem to reign supreme. This is the heartbreaking picture facing us all. However, in spite of it all, David the Psalmist has good news for us. He tells us there is hope and gives us a positive way of looking at things.
Here are David’s recommendations for facing a world marked by ‘evildoers,’ whose days are numbered. Instead we should do good and trust the Lord because the more we do this, the less chance evil has to thrive. If we trust people with our future, we will end up being disappointed.
In Psalms 37: 1-3 David cautions, “Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.” He tells us that if we take delight in God and His will, He will fulfil the desires of our hearts so that we are not envious of ill-gotten wealth.
He goes on to say, “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your vindication as the light, and your right as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him, fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”
The more we immerse ourselves in God’s word and His promise, the less we will fret over the troubles of this world. Sure, it’s a tough world but with God we can be victorious. For all His children, God desires a calm life full of humility and complete trust in Him.
All is not lost as there are still some people who make promises and keep them and by so doing make their lives and those of others around them bearable. Keeping a promise is a powerful means of grace in a time when people hardly depend on each other to remember and live by their word. In Psalms chapter 15, we are told about the qualities of the steadfast, God-fearing person who enjoys fellowship with our promise-keeping God. This person keeps his promise even when it hurts.
I believe there is power in every promise that is made and kept. Are you a person whose word can always be trusted? What commitments have you made to your family, your spouse, your friends, and your church or to God? Have you kept them?
Published in July 2011 issue