“But you promised I could have a sleepover!” my son wailed as I tucked him into bed. “You said that I could have Max sleepover and you broke your promise!” Daily the litany continues of promises made and broken, according to my children’s interpretation. Forget the fact that other people change their minds, get sick, or my plans simply change for one reason or another. Even my twelve year old expects me to corral the universe so that every plan we make stays set like concrete. Try as I might to explain the complicated schedules that people keep and the number of things that change on a daily basis, I am personally held responsible if the words out of my mouth do not assure that our plans come to pass with the utmost accuracy.
Children are famous for bombarding their parents with petitions for play dates and privileges. In rapid-fire self-preservation, my maternal ammunition is often to shoot them a parental “maybe. Instead of committing to a play date or an activity, I throw the word “maybe” around like breadcrumbs to hungry birds. They gobble up my “maybes” and hope for the best.
God is not this kind of parent. God’s promises are sure. When God sent Jesus to the world, everything that God promised would happen, happened. A gift to my children would be to live with the awareness that my words have the potential to become promises fulfilled. If my yes is consistently yes, and my no is always no, then my children will learn to depend on my words and see me as reliable. Learning to believe in my promises allows my children to see into the very nature of God.