It is July again. Three years later. I can hardly believe it has been three years, it seems like yesterday and forever at the same time. I remember sitting on my porch in the days to follow Ashley's death. My friend wished she could pick me up and move me three years into the future. She said that it would get better. She knew because she had been where I was 16 years before me. I listened, but couldn't possibly imagine making it through three years. I could barely survive each moment. In my heart I truly believed that I would not have to make it for three years. God would come before then. Surely this must be the end. My world had fallen to pieces. My world had ended. I waited every day for Him to come. Each morning I begged of him that today would be the day. Every night I begged him to let me wake up in His presence. My bags were packed. I was ready to go. I had no attachment to this world. Nothing meant anything to me anymore.
No one could promise me anything. I wanted people to tell me how to make it. I wanted instructions. I wanted assurance. No one would promise me anything. I tried to make promises to myself. I became angry by the promises people make to others. Promises to pray for them, when they wouldn't really pray. Promises to stand by someone no matter what, and then forget with time, or give up when the going got tough. I did not promise to pray for anyone, knowing that I would fail them. I couldn't sing songs because I couldn't say the words and not mean them.
Last night, as I put my little girls to bed, Grace asked me once again, "when will God come to take us home?" I tell her I don't know when, but I do know that He WILL come. He promised us that he will come. I know that God always keeps his promises. He can not break a promise. As I lay there I thought about the other ways I answer my kids difficult questions and fears. I usually answer them with promises, God's promises. "He will never leave you, nor forsake you." "He will be with you wherever you go." "He will provide all of your needs according to His riches in glory." "He loves you." "He will never let you go." A song began to sing itself to me. "Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God, my savior, Standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of God!"
I have been giving my children, and so also myself, the only promises that I know will be true. The old hymn reminded me that I am standing on His promises each day. But what if I am not sure if they are true? What about my doubt, my unbelief? I tell my children these things, these promises, but what if they are not true? They believe without a doubt. What about my unbelief? The second verse says "Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God." Even in my doubt and unbelief, His word is Living and Will prevail! It will not fail. I will choose to stand, even blindly, on His word, His promises, because I have nothing else to stand on! I am teaching my children to be faithful to God's word, faith, void of myself, but walking forward blindly.
As I read more on the old hymn, Kenneth Osbeck in his book "Amazing Grace" writes: "Bible scholars have pointed out that the phrase "fear not" appears in the Bible 365 times - a reassuring promise for each day of the year. A daily dependence upon the divine promises is the only real remedy for our human fears." (Amazing Grace, pg. 85) Growing up in a church that filled each Sunday service with the hymns of old, I often wondered why we had to sing these old songs. I loved to sing them, and I knew them well. As I page through my hymnals I am amazed by how many of them I know, not only the words, but the music in several different harmonies. In my deepest, darkest moments the words and music of those old hymns fill my soul. They force me to sing, to remember the words that have been impressed upon my heart. Those words, all these years later, are now teaching me about my faith. They are reminding me of the truths found in the gospel. They have often been my only comfort, like a gentle rocking for my soul.
I am standing on the promises of God, my savior today. Every day. I will continue to tell my children of the promises I know, and trust that God will impress them on their hearts forever.
"Standing on the Promises" by R. Kelso Carter
1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King, thru eternal ages let His praises ring; glory in the highest I will shout and sing, standing on the promises of God.
2. Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.
3.Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, bound to Him eternally by love's strong cord, overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword, standing on the promises of God.
4. Standing on the promises I now can see perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me; standing in the liberty where Christ makes free, standing on the promises of God,
5. Standing on the promises I cannot fall, list'ning ev'ry moment to the Spirit's call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing of the promises of God.