God’s Promise, Our Hope

“God is a God of promise, not of bargains.”

The quote comes from some of my extensive readings in preparing to become an Intentional Interim Minister. The rest of the statement goes like this: “Where our hope centers on God’s promise, we hope for the whole, fragile but precious world created by the promise.”

When you read your Bible (provided that you do), the promises of God are all over the place. Everything from “fear not” to “I will never leave you nor forsake you”; from “I will be their God and they will be My people,” to “Come to Me…and I will give you rest.”

I like the first part of the statement (I guess that’s why I shared it): “God is a God of promise, not of bargains.” God does what God does because He alone is God and His thoughts are not our thoughts and He tends to know better what is good for us. He relates to us unconditionally – no “if you do this, I’ll do that,” but simply loving us because He is love, not because we are lovable. He is gracious toward us because grace is His “thing.” He is merciful, not because we deserve or have earned the privilege of mercy, but simply because He is merciful. I live and move and breathe each day, not because I successfully negotiated a “good deal” out of God; I exist because He created me, claimed me, and called me to “be His own, and live under Him all the days of my life” (as Luther explains in the Small Catechism).

This is why God’s promise gives us hope – because it depends on God, not on us. Unlike this world and its demand for newer, better, and faster everything, God steadily loves and cares for me – just the way He did yesterday and as He promises to do tomorrow. There is no fear that all of sudden God is going to leave and the whole universe is going to have to get along without Him. That’s not the way God works; and that is why I can hope…not “wish” for things…but hope – trusting by faith in God’s promises as the One who makes and keeps His Word.

Things change; God doesn’t. That’s His promise…that’s our hope!