When someone follows up what they tell me they’ll do with an emphatic, “I will! I promise!” my doubt doubles. It’s as though they weren’t trustworthy in the first place and now slapping the words, “I promise” on their trustworthiness they emphasize their untrustworthiness and I doubt all the more they’ll follow through on their word.
God is not like that! The God of the Bible keeps his word. If he says he’ll do something he doesn’t have to sugar coat it with the sales pitch, “I promise!” His word is his promise.
In the Bible, God says he values his word even above his name. Which I take to mean, its more important to him that we believe he’ll do what he says he’ll do than that we understand fully who he is. The God of the Bible wants us to trust and believe him. He doesn’t just want us to believe he exists. He wants us to believe that he exsists, and he’s good, that he’ll do what he says he’ll do (Hebrews 11:6).
If you use a Bible search tool to search the word hope, you’ll find hope closely connected to suffering in the Bible. Seems like it should be the opposite. Usually we feel most hopeless in the midst of our suffering. But the God of the Bible wants us to feel hope in the midst of our suffering. How? Why? Because he has made promises and he will keep them, no matter how much suffering comes our way. The question is, will we believe him? Will we wait for him to fulfill his promises, or will we give up on waiting and seek some sort of salvation somewhere else, like in a bottle, or fame, or money, or power or relationships?
Christmas is a reminder of the faithfulness of God’s word. He promised, from the beginning that he would deal with the sin that separated humanity from him. And for thousands of years people waited, resting their hope in God’s word. He said he would, and they would believe him, even if they didn’t see it come to pass in their lifetime.
The hope I find in the Bible, is a promise that God will do what he says he will do. It’s not a wish that circumstances will be better, but a promise sealed in blood, that says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall they live.” (John 11:25)