Throughout salvation history and in each of our lives, God keeps His promises

In the fullness of time, God kept His promises by Himself becoming man. God has kept His promises throughout salvation history, but He keeps them uniquely in each of our lives as well.

Our God is a God who keeps His promises. Abraham and Sarah had a son at the time promised by the angel of the Lord, although Sarah was far past her time of childbearing. Jacob became the father and head of the twelve tribes of God’s chosen people, after many years seemingly apart from God’s blessing and promise. The Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt even though Pharaoh continued to harden his heart. God led His People to conquer the Promised Land, outnumbered and weak as they were. And He sent His prophets to promise something even greater.

In the fullness of time, God kept those promises by Himself becoming man, born of the Virgin Mary, like us in all things but sin (CCC 458; cf. Hebrews 4:15). He sacrificed His very life that you and I might live. And risen again, He poured out His Holy Spirit upon His Church, to guide her in the ways of holiness until He comes again.

God has kept His promises throughout salvation history, but He keeps them uniquely in each of our lives as well. Earlier this summer, I received my assignment for this year — to study in Rome. In fact, I had even sensed in prayer for several months that God was preparing me to go out from our Motherhouse to mission again. Receiving the assignment to study in Rome was like being embraced by Him with the assurance, “See — I keep My promises.” But paperwork to travel internationally is challenging, especially during a pandemic. There have been many times when it seemed like the Lord might be closing doors. 

Waiting for months for the arrival of my passport, for which I had applied in June, I was more convinced than ever that the Lord might well have other plans. One day in mid-August, I saw that the Department of State was still backlogged to applications submitted in March. But the next day, I received an email that my passport had been shipped, and it even arrived earlier than expected. He truly does keep His promises!

One of the greatest promises Our Lord gave us while He was on earth was: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20b). Wherever we go, whatever we are asked to do, whatever the circumstances surrounding us in our lives or in the world, He is with us! He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5b). It was that knowledge of His presence with me — and the promise of His continued presence whatever this year might bring — that gave me peace as I awaited the arrival of my passport. No matter what turmoil we might see in the world around us, we as Christians can know the deep peace that comes from recognizing His presence with us.

The spiritual tradition of the Church refers to this recognition as “practicing the presence of God.” It means that we do everything with Him in mind — remembering that He is with us at every moment — while we work or play as well as the times we set aside specifically for prayer. Each and every moment of our day can be an encounter with the God who keeps His promises. Let us recognize His presence with us always and allow our time with Him to transform us into those who see as He sees. May we see that at every instance He is at work in us to bring to completion the good work He has begun in us (cf. Philippians 1:6).

Sr. Mary Martha Becnel is a member of the Ann Arbor-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.