“I am with you now, I will protect you everywhere you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done everything that I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15 (CEB)


In their book, Promising Again, Anderson, Hogue, and McCarthy discuss the different types of promises we make. In marriage, there are the primary promises we make in our wedding vows (to love, honor, and cherish). But these are defined and supported by secondary (exclusivity, permeance, mutuality) and tertiary (time-limited, circumstantial) promises.

For example, I uphold my primary promise to love by staying around (secondary) and setting aside an evening each week when I don’t schedule meetings (tertiary). Even the tertiary promises are upheld by daily promises, such as, “I’ll be home by 5:00.”

If we look at our relationships, it’s often not the primary promises that we break outright but the ones supporting them. This is why it can hurt so much when someone breaks a seemingly small promise to us. It erodes the foundation of the primary promises at the core of our relationship.


As I’ve been reflecting on the promises of God this Eastertide (especially as I’ve been preaching through Revelation), I wonder what the secondary, tertiary, and daily promises are.

God’s promise to love us is made manifest in the new heaven and new earth where we will dwell with God forever. But just like marriage, in the midst of our promises, real life happens. There will be times of suffering and brokenness mixed in with times of great joy and closeness.

God doesn’t break promises to us in the same way we do. But there are certainly times when I feel let down by God. I can question God’s love or God’s good intention for me because of the hurt I feel and God’s seeming silence in the face of it.


But even today, when I am tired and feeling heavy, the sun has broken out for a few minutes on day forecast to be cloudy. And this reminds me that the sun came up today – as it does every day. A reminder that God’s promise of light endures. A promise I can rely on, even in the darkness.

I often can’t see the way God keeps God’s primary promises to me in my daily moments. I’m too caught up in my own getting through the day. But in hindsight, I can see the small graces of love of God’s promise-keeping. These daily graces edify my faith, helping me to believe in God’s promises even when faith is hard.


In what way is God promise-keeping to you today?

I may lose sight of God's promise-keeping in my daily moments because I'm too caught up in getting through the day. But in hindsight, I can see the small graces of love of God's promise-keeping. #promise #love #amen Click To Tweet


Today’s Five-minute Friday prompt is promise. You can read other great reflections here.

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2 Thoughts to “promise”

  1. I like the insight about the different levels of promises – I hadn’t thought of it like that before. And I love those little moments when God reminds us of his presence and his promises even in small ways. Those times are encouraging when we’re struggling to see his faithfulness in other things.

    1. It’s a great book and helpful when talking about relationships. I hadn’t thought about it in my relationship with God until today. I need those small graces.

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