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When the promise dies

Death is not something most people relish. It is not something we want to be associated with. We don’t want to be near it. But is it as much a part of us as life is. We will all eventually experience physical death. Most of us will have people close to us die. Death is inescapable.

My great-grandmother was an incredible woman of God. As she came close to the end of her years on earth, she said she would often spend her days in the company of angels. At almost 101 years old, her eyesight had faded, but she could still see the outline of an angel sitting in her rocking chair keeping her company as she prayed for her family.

Years before she kept constant company with angels, she birthed a son. She was on in years. In fact, my mother was already on the scene. She had an uncle just a few months younger than her. Wesley was born with Down’s Syndrome in addition to several other serious physical conditions. But he lit up the room.

I never knew Uncle Wesley. He died before he ever really lived. But he had a happy childhood. He loved and was loved. How do I know? I’ve heard the stories. I’ve looked at pictures. I’ve watched him wave to the camera on the old film from a trip to Disneyland. But the promise of life was never fulfilled for him.

The Bible gives an account of another boy who lost his life too early. In 2 Kings 4, we see Elisha forming a bond with a Shunamite woman and her husband. For all the couple did for him and his servant, Elisha gave the promise of a son to the childless couple.

Sure enough, a year later, the woman had a son. The boy grew, but one day in the fields, something went terribly wrong. The boy collapsed and, after being carried home, died in his mother’s arms. The promise was dead.

Did the woman wail and rail against God? Did she run out and slander Elisha for his failed promise? Did she shut herself off from the world? No. She laid the boy on the bed in the room she had prepared for Elisha and set out to find the man of God.

To make a long story short, the woman brought Elisha back with her. Elisha did his thing and the boy woke. The promise was not lost.

I wish I could say that Wesley, too, enjoyed the promise of a long life on earth, but he did not. The promise in his life lives on in the stories that have been told for generations. He lives on in the memories of those who loved him.

So what happens when our promise dies? Do we give up and mourn or, like the Shunamite woman, do we close the door on death and go seek out life? I think we too often give up too easily. We see death as finite. Death was not enough to keep a mother from seeking God. She knew a promise had been made and she was going to be sure that the one who made the promise kept it.

What promises have you lost? What will it take for you to get them back? Instead of giving up so easily, go after it.

For he performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him.

Job 23:14 (NKJV)

If He promised it, He will perform it. Don’t just trust in the promise. Trust in the One who made the promise.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Kings 4-5; John 4:1-30

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