When God Breaks His Promises
“Oh God, please.” Kristian prays, “Please give me a word. Tell me what you want from me. Show me what to do.” Just then, the crowd parts, the music seems to fade, and a hand finds the top of Kristian’s head. What follows is a powerful exhortation; a declaration of what is and what will be. Kristian’s heart leaps for joy as he stores away the heavenly treasure that has just been bestowed upon him.
The days following the prophecy, Kristian’s heart is awash with a rapturous joy. He ponders the prophetic message, carefully turning each word and phrase over and over in his mind. His thoughts run wild with possibilities and his hopes anchor themselves to the promises of a worldwide ministry, many books written and numberless souls saved. In time, Kristian has crafted a beautiful image of what the fulfillment of this prophecy will look like and he holds on to that image with all of his might.
As the exuberance of walking in the prophetic yields to the doldrums of the daily grind, Kristian begins to long for the day when God’s word to him comes to fruition. Faithfully, Kristian attends Bible College and learns to be a minister. After all, he knows that he must be prepared for the day when God’s plan for his life starts to take shape. All the while, he hopes. He prays. He believes. He waits.
Years go by. Kristian serves in his local church and earns a living as an auto mechanic; an auto mechanic with a BA in Christian Ministry and thousands of dollars in student loans to pay off. Every payment is a bitter pill filling his heart with resentment. Where did I go wrong? And why did God not keep his promises to me? This becomes his mantra. In his brokenness he cries out, “Oh God, please. Please give me a word. Tell me what you want from me. Show me what to do.”
Is this you? Not in the specifics, but in the general scheme: the prophet speaks, we believe, we hope, we are disappointed. It seems like there is a lot of this going around these days. I must admit that I haven’t been exempt from this cycle, but I have learned from it. I have learned a few things along my Jesus Journey that might help you out with this one.
I assume that if this article applies to you, you believe that prophecy is real and that it continues to this day. Of course, I’m not saying that there is new revelation that is equal to or adds to the Scriptures. I speak of prophecy that declares the truth of the Word of God, and serves to build up, encourage and console the Believer (1 Cor. 14:3).
How do we receive prophecy without becoming disillusioned like Kristian? The Apostle Paul tells us to test every prophecy, get rid of the junk and hold on to the good stuff (1 Thess. 5:19-22). His instructions tell us that sometimes prophecy can be wrong, misguided or downright evil. But he also tells us that prophecy can be good and if we determine that it is good, hold on to it.
Here are three ways to protect yourself from feeling like God has broken his promises to you:
1. Receive prophecy joyfully, but test it. Always test it.
This is what I do when I receive a prophetic word.
Examine: Does the Word I received align with Scripture? God will never tell you to do something contrary to his Word. For instance: He will not tell the church’s pastor to divorce his wife and marry the worship minister.
Listen: Does the Holy Spirit in me agree with this prophetic message? Careful here. Your flesh might be screaming, yes! What is the Holy Spirit whispering?
Share: Find a person that has spiritual discernment with whom to share the prophetic word. They may be able to give you insight as to the validity of the prophecy and ultimately they will serve as a witness. We have a tendency to drift in our recollection of what was said and can even see an event as a fulfillment that isn’t. It’s good to have a person to either rejoice with you in its fulfillment, or point out that your memory isn’t quite right.
Wait: If the prophetic message is about future events, all you can do is wait.
2. Never place your hope in personal prophecy. Put your hope in God and his written Word; the Bible.
Build your hope on those things which are certain. If Paul is telling us to test prophecies, he is telling us that prophecies can be wrong. Even if they come from people who are solid Christians with good intentions, a New Testament style prophecy can sometimes miss the mark. The Bible, however, is certain. Every truth, every promise, every idea is true. Those things will not change. Trust in God’s Word, and you will never be disappointed.
3. If it happens, I praise God. If it doesn’t happen I still praise God.
In my experience, most prophecy is of the edifying and encouraging type. Unlike those which have immediate application, prophecies about future blessings, achievements, and activities require patience. Predictive prophecies rarely come with timelines, and God does not operate on your timetable. We must wait and see.While we wait, we must actively battle our human nature which leads us to define things which God left vague. We must avoid confusing our trust in God with belief in a prophecy. And we must continue living out our Jesus Journey. We can’t put life on hold for something that may never happen. If it does happen, I rejoice and praise God. While I wait, I continue to live the normal Christian life, my Jesus Journey, which is essentially a life of praising God.
Our journey with Jesus is full of adventure. It is a supernatural life in the natural world. In our supernatural life, we tend to overcomplicate things. Relax, God’s got you. He won’t forget you. And He will never break his promises.