Resolutions, promises, and lessons from South Carolina

Each new year people tend to make lists of resolutions. By February or March people might start to bemoan their inability to keep those resolutions: the holiday weight won’t come off, the bad habits haven’t been mortified, and the snooze button is still whacked too many times every morning. I have never been one for lifestyle resolutions. Instead, for several years now I have used the new year to pick one of Jonathan Edwards’ 70 Resolutions and commit it to practice. I have most frequently used Resolution 28: “Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.” For 2016 I wanted something a little more personal and opted for a Kait-original. I resolved to know and to cling to God’s promises. Something that has always been hard for me to do.

Right now I am visiting my friend Coie in South Carolina. She and her husband live in  beautiful wooded area that is green and quiet and peaceful. Their home inside affords the same measure of peace and tranquility. A few nights ago we sat around playing Monopoly Deal after dinner. Coie has a lovely calendar up in the dining room and it caught my eye.

While I was pondering Isaiah 41:10 from the calendar, I thought how comforting this verse must have been to those to whom it was originally written; and while I was thinking about that, it occured to me that although it is a comforting promise to others, it can be (should be) comforting to me. This is one of God’s promises to his people. I am one of his people.

Before that evening playing Monopoly Deal and catching sight of the calendar, fear and dismay were warring within me and my heart was anxious and unsure about a few things. The Lord used this verse to squash all of that. The Lord plainly commands me to not fear or be dismayed. Why? How can I do that? Because the Lord is with me. He is my God. Everything that I was worried about will be taken care of by my loving Father. He knows the desires of my heart and he loves me and he is good to me. He will take care of me.

I was in the middle of a Monopoly Deal round when the Lord reminded me of my resolution from January. The presence and help of God was the very type of thing I had resolved to remember, and there I was forgetting and fretting about other things. It is not sufficient to just think about this, though. The other part of a resolution is the doing. You have to do what you resolved to do. This is the harder part. This is the part where temptation creeps in. This is the part where I hear Satan whisper, “Did God really say that?” During the doing and remembering, I have to forge ahead. I have to purposefully and intentionally remember and cling to what God has promised. Sometimes that means I repeat God’s promises to myself over and over. Sometimes that means I fill up index cards with God’s promises and put them in my desk, in my car, in my purse. Sometimes that means I have to take bold steps forward, knowing that my God will catch me if I fall. But it is always an act of faith, and faith means I must trust without being able to see.

South Carolina is beautiful in the summer. The colors outside are so vivid, the air conditioning inside so cool. The peace and tranquility of what is around me is not limited to South Carolina. This peace is mine, not because I am on vacation or visiting with dear friends, but because the Lord is with me and he is my God.

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