We live in a world where promises are broken every single day. Your tenant breaks contract. Your friend changes plans last minute. Your parent fails to show up. Your colleague misses a deadline. Your partner who promised to always love you just ran off into the arms of another. When I was younger, a broken promise would shake me to the core. These days, I’ve learned to shrug it off as a normal part of life.
We live in a world where promises are broken every single day … I’ve learned to shrug it off as a normal part of life.
I recently watched ‘1917’, an Oscar-winning film that was inspired by the events of war in April 1917. The movie begins by introducing us to two characters, Will Schofield and Tom Blake, who agree to being sent on a dangerous mission to deliver an important message to the 2nd Battalion. The mission required them to walk across enemy territory, to deliver a message by dawn. In doing so, they could stop the 2nd Battalion from walking into an enemy trap and saving 1,600 lives.
The mission was suspenseful, and had me questioning whether Schofield and Blake would survive the barrage of bombs and bullets. With time their enemy—and as they became increasingly injured—I was curious to see whether they would abandon the mission or have the grit and courage to persevere to fulfil their promises.
We live in a time where we can make and break promises with a convenience of a text message. Instead of being encouraged to commit with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, social media allows us to make half-hearted choices of ‘interested’ or ‘maybe’. Instead of being taught to do all it takes to show up, society gives us permission to keep our options open. In a world that allows for broken promises, how can we trust that the people around us are going to be committed to their word?
In a world that excuses broken promises and half-commitments, Schofield and Blake show us the power of promise keeping in a ‘maybe’ world. They promised to deliver an important message that would save thousands of lives, and they selflessly persevered through blood, sweat and tears to make that happen. The movie celebrates them as heroes of their word and mighty pillars of strength.
Whenever I meet people of their word, they tend to earn my trust and loyalty for life. This is precisely why I worship a God who is faithful to His promises. The cross shows me that God’s talk isn’t cheap. He doesn’t back out of a promise when times get tough. Like Schofield and Blake, Jesus was committed to God’s plans for salvation and he persevered through blood, sweat and tears to complete his mission.
While the generals in 1917 hid in bunkers, sending out ordinary men to fight their cause, Jesus reveals the God who stepped into our world to do the dirty work himself. God initiated a rescue mission to save humanity from sin and death—a mission only he could complete. The incarnation is significant because only Jesus —fully man and fully God—could pay a high enough price for human sin and conquer death itself.
The cross is the most powerful demonstration of faithfulness and promise-keeping, and it empowers me to ‘hold unswervingly to the hope we profess’
Yet being ‘fully God’ did not make him immune to anxiety or sorrow. The mission still required courage and commitment. Before his crucifixion, Jesus sweated blood—his soul was ‘overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death’ (Matt 26:38). Yet still he volunteered to lay down his life by his own accord (John 10:18).
The cross is the most powerful demonstration of faithfulness and promise-keeping, and it empowers me to ‘hold unswervingly to the hope we profess’ (Hebrews 10:23). Knowing that Jesus defeated sin and death on my behalf, gives me so much hope whenever I feel weak, tempted or powerless. No matter the depth of my sin and struggle, I can trust that Jesus fought to save my soul and he will continue to do so, until the fight is finished (Philippians 1:6).
Likewise, knowing that Jesus rose and was glorified after death empowers me to live with courage, and to persevere through the pain and bullets that I have to face on this side of eternity.
How will being a child of a promise-keeping God empower you to make courageous commitments in a ‘maybe’ world?
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
First published at heiditai.com