The Promise

Guest post by Allie de Graaf

God’s promises are good, but sometimes I don’t like them.

I know the promise, that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. This is a great and precious promise. Jesus—Immanuel, God with Us—is the greatest Gift, the embodiment of that promise. His advent is good news of great joy. In Isaiah, we read God’s promise:

When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
You will not drown.

Jesus is this promise in the flesh. Immanuel. God with Us. The promise of His presence is the reason for our confidence, for our contentment, regardless of our circumstances.

Yet in my heart of hearts, sometimes I think the essence of Him, God with Us, is not enough. When I go through deep waters, I question the promise. Why is the promise not that when I face deep waters, God will find another way? When the waves of loss, despair, depression, or agonizing hardship crash over me, my heart desperately wishes the promise was to lead me to a bridge over that river. But that is not the promise.

I find it amazing that I am not alone in these longings. While I imagine that you share with me the desire to be spared from suffering, whether or not you do, I know I am not alone. Jesus begged, tears streaking his face, bloody sweat beading on His brow, for His Father to spare Him the suffering of the cross. When life presses in hard and our souls gasp for breath, we long for an easier way, for relief, for the removal of hard from our story. Jesus has been there. He intimately knows that broken place. And He is with us when we find ourselves there. Immanuel. God with Us.

While Jesus pleaded with God to take the cup of suffering from Him, He ultimately surrendered to the Father’s will. He trusted the Father’s promise, the promise to bring overflowing redemption to mankind through His ugly, brutal, and senseless death.

The answer to my desire to be spared from suffering is not to pretend that I don’t wish for that. I can’t suppress the natural human instinct to avoid pain. But I can follow my Savior in trusting the will and the promises of my God. Jesus leads us and His way is the way of the cross. That is a hard truth that sometimes I rail against. And yet even in my moments of deepest pain, I can surrender myself to the love of the One who knows what it is to not be spared from the rivers of difficulty. He went ahead of me into the greatest difficulty, the pain of being forsaken by His loving Father. Because of that, I have the manifest promise that God will never forsake me. Jesus. Immanuel. God with Us. And He is enough.

Allie loves exploring the Colorado mountains. She just said I do to forever with her handsome husband. When she's not having an adventure with him, she loves building community with her girlfriends at a cozy coffee shop over a chai latte.