Promises, promises

I was on duty at Skipton Castle today, helping with a wedding.  Part of my job is to ensure that visitors to the castle don’t interrupt the ceremony, so at the appointed time I closed the heavy oak door and took up my position outside it.  I couldn’t, of course, see what was happening but I could hear quite a lot.  “I will.”  “I do.”  “I promise.”  Words like ‘commitment’, ‘binding contract’, ‘forever’.

I found myself musing on the subject of promises.  In particular on how lightly we make them,  how easily we forget them, and what the consequences might be.  Just suppose that I invite you to do something, next week perhaps.  You seem enthusiastic.  Tuesday?  Yes, that should be fine but you will need to check your diary and let me know.  You’ll text me.  But Tuesday comes, and Tuesday goes.  No message.  The days turn to weeks, we meet from time to time, nothing is said.  I heard “I will” - a promise – but did you?  Perhaps you forgot?  Perhaps you were busy?  Perhaps you didn’t really want to do whatever it was but were too polite to say?  And thus, from something small, grows disappointment, disillusionment, perhaps even a lack of trust.

Or again, just suppose that something is troubling you, some problem has arisen, and you ask me to pray about it.  Of course, I say.  Will I remember my promise?  Will I honour my word?  Of course, you may never know, but God will 

One of the early Puritans, Richard Rogers, was accused of being too precise, too careful, in his speech.  “But,” he replied, “I serve a precise God.”

If God, who cannot lie, whose words never fall to the ground or fail, is my heavenly Father, should I not also seek to be precise and careful with my words?

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his words is wise.

                                                                                       Proverbs 10:19

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

                                                                                      Psalm 141:3

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

                                                                                                                                                                   Psalm 19:14

May the mind of Christ my Saviour

Live in me from day to day,

By His love and power controlling

All I do and say.


May the Word of God dwell richly

In my heart from hour to hour,

So that all may see I triumph

Only through His power.


May the peace of God my Father

Rule my life in everything,

That I may be calm to comfort

Sick and sorrowing.


May the love of Jesus fill me

As the waters fill the sea;

Him exalting, self abasing,

This is victory.


May I run the race before me,

Strong and brave to face the foe,

Looking only unto Jesus

As I onward go.


May His beauty rest upon me

As I seek the lost to win,

And may they forget the channel,

Seeing only Him.

                   Katie Barclay Wilkinson