I suppose the word “vow” is most commonly associated with marriage, as both parties vow to love each other “in sickness and in health” and all the other promises made before God and people, when the rings are exchanged and the couple becomes one. That vow is a solemn promise. But, we all know that no matter how solemn the promise, the vows we humans make are broken. Possibly, because we are all broken and have the most trouble keeping our vows…or promises.
I felt a few tears fall on my cheeks recently as I heard a song that reminded me that we all break every vow we make…or at least a lot of them. Every single vow, made with the best of intentions, is tested to the limits and so often broken and forgotten…except by the one to whom the vow was made. Gaping wounds sometimes last a lifetime.
Dads break promises to build that tree house, because life is busy and work is hard and time goes by.
Moms break promises to always be near their children, but find themselves fleeing and abandoning in frustration, depression and anger.
Kids break promises to obey, because they want what they want, and they want it now.
Friends break promises to visit the other friend when she moves away, but it just doesn’t happen.
Employees break their contracts and embezzle or cheat or all sorts of things because life demands money to live.
My goodness, entire nations in the bible broke their promises to God over and over again because they grew tired, weary, fearful and afraid that God wasn’t going to come through.
Every vow we make seems to end up broken and in the trash, forgotten and left behind, until we then make another.
The reason a few tears fell on my cheek wasn’t just because I felt sad about how I’d broken every vow I’d ever made to trust and obey…but because I realized the truth that He never breaks a promise or a vow, and that’s pretty huge.
He promises to never leave us or forsake us, but we think he has, so we abandon our faith.
He promises to guide us and lead us, but we don’t like where he’s taking us, so we shake loose his hand.
He promised to send a Savior to wipe away all our sins, and we believed and received, until we didn’t.
He says he has good plans and a future for us, but we can’t see it so we don’t believe it.
He says he has overcome the world, but we live in and see that it’s overcoming us, so His words fail us.
He promises rest when we come to him, weary and tired, but we fail at resting, in favor of doing.
Every vow we try to make we stumble and fall in our faith, our walk, our trust and yes…that elusive thing called rest for the body, mind and soul.
I suppose I could end this story right here and make us all feel so horrible at the state of our weakness following the One we call Christ, and how we are such a fickle people in the fact that we are unable to keep our vows.
But the truth of the Cross and the work performed on the Cross by the One who died on the Cross and then conquered death is this:
In our weakness, He is made strong. That might be the coolest vow he ever made to us, in this covenant relationship we have with Jesus. When we grow weary in waiting, there are these things called eagles’ wings that somehow cause us to soar way up high where we can then run and not faint. When we are unable to rise above sin and stop those evil deeds and thoughts that run rampant and cause us to wander off, he’s there. He takes all of that weakness on his shoulders and becomes our Peace.
Exodus 14:14 says “The Lord will fight for you. You only need to be still.”
Every vow, every promise, every word ever spoken from the mouth of our Savior is a vow that cannot and will not be broken, even though every vow we make is weak and so broken.
That’s the beauty of Easter…the keeper of all promises obedient to the Father…so that we can rest in knowing we belong to Him forever and ever, no matter the daily stumbles or fails. He’s that Savior, Jesus, our Lord.