Have you ever had a time in your life when you seriously questioned the goodness and mercy of the Lord? Perhaps it was an illness, some disappointment, financial loss, confusion, relational issues, or a sense of depression or discouragement that caused your hope in God to decrease. It is in these times of crisis and darkness that you and I would do well to remind ourselves of the things that God has not promised to us this side of heaven.
In her poem, “What God Hath Promised”, Annie Johnson Flint (1866 – 1932) gives us a helpful glimpse into those difficult times in life that can be the catalyst for learning how to find our hope in God in new and deeper ways. Her life story, which is well worth reading and pondering, is a testimony to the faithful and sustaining love of God in the midst of a very tragic life story, including the death of her mother at age 3, a debilitating onset of severe arthritis at age 20, and poverty. Her prolific number of poems have brought comfort, peace and insight to believers around the world for decades. This is one of the most profound.
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
many a burden, many a care.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.