Often when I put my daughter to bed I will not only pray with her, but I’ll catch myself repeating to her certain promises that I plan on keeping to ensure that she will grow up a well-guided and well-loved woman.
I want my daughter to live with wisdom and I plan on instilling this wisdom as the Lord gives it me. I want her to walk in humility and in the grace of God. It’s a very powerful and beautiful thing for a woman to be humble and also wise, and this is the plan that I have for my daughter, as it is the Lord’s.
Sure, she’ll throw me some curve balls. But I won’t let her character deter me from keeping my promises to guide her into maturity in Christ as the Lord sees it.
WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THE ONES WE LOVE
It’s funny, I think to myself as I repeat these promises to my daughter that it’s a lot like the vows we make to our spouses on our wedding day. We stand in front of them and we speak promises of how we will conduct ourselves as husbands and wives. Essentially, we are telling them how we plan to make the marriage successful, and what things we’ll do to ensure the healthiest marriage.
Now, of course, only someone naïve would think that all these vows are going to be kept perfectly, but my wife and I have our vows on display in our living room as a reminder of what we promised. And for my daughter, my promises will be kept in this article and, maybe one day, hung on a canvas print in her room.
1. I promise I will protect you.
Not everyone you meet has your best interest. In fact many people will want to take advantage of you. You will know that people are harmful and vile, and I will help you discern who to bring in, who to keep at a distance, and who to stay away from.
This world contains murderers, rapists, and kidnappers, and they exist in every single town; you will be given the tools to protect yourself from them. I will train you to protect yourself from disgusting men who want you for harmful means, and I will help you be on high alert against predators. You will not be naïve, I promise. I will protect you.
2. I promise I will lead you.
I will show you what a real man looks like by how I live, and I will show you the characteristics you will look for in husband. I will show you what true love is by how I sacrificially give you my time and energy, and I will show you that a rich life means inviting God’s presence into the home by having our Bibles open and plenty of time praying to God.
By my example I will give you the wisdom to discern what kind of man to marry. He will lead you the rest of your life. But for now, I promise I will lead you and be your example of a loving and caring man of God.
3. I promise I will teach you.
You will know and understand God’s Word to a higher degree than most people because you and I will read and discuss it your entire life. God’s Word is the most important aspect of life to understand, and I promise I will prioritize your learning in this matter.
I will teach you disciplines and habits that will keep you being a lifelong learner of Christ.
I will teach you what success really means to God, and I will make sure that you don’t waste your life by climbing ladders that don’t matter, like so many do, like I did.
I will teach you a better way to make decisions, and I will give you the best resources so that one day you will not need me, and you will be rich with the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord.
4. I promise I will fail you.
I will say and do things that I don’t mean because I’m a sinful man in desperate need of forgiveness. I will not love you perfectly as I wish to do, and I will not be half the man I wish to be for you.
But I promise I will ask for forgiveness when I fail you and show you the gospel in my failures by how I ask for forgiveness.
I will show you that we are all sinful and no matter how badly I want to be the perfect father for you, I can’t be. I hate that I’m promising this to you, but I’m too sinful to promise that I will not fail you.
But in my failures I will ask your forgiveness. This is how God brings about good in our times of defeat.
5. I promise I will leave you.
Everyone dies, sweetheart. Your daddy won’t always be here with you, and for a time you’ll have to live without me. There’s nothing I can do to stop it, as much as I hate it. So it’s best to acknowledge it and live in light of death’s reality.
So then consider this deeply, because if when we die we don’t live again, then nothing in this world matters. So then what is most important?
Eternal life is what is most important, and whatever we must do to have it. Whoever we must know that gives it, that is the most important person in our lives.
I promise I will leave you, but it doesn’t have to be forever because Jesus is the one we can trust to bring us together again in the end. He is the most important man in your life . . .
GOD, FATHER OF PROMISES
I am a broken and sinful father who breaks promises, but there is a Father in heaven who does not. His immutability will not allow him to break his promises, and therefore we can count on Him to be perfectly faithful to us. Throughout the course of history God’s people have been faithless to Him, but still faithful He remains, longsuffering with them to ensure that maximum benefit of his grace.
God has given his people a promise that a Savior will come who will have an everlasting kingdom. This is the promise that we have in Christ, a life and a hope that exists beyond our fate of the grave. There is inevitable death that comes to all of us, but God promises that in his Son, whom he raised from the dead, life eternal will be given.
These are his promises and this is my hope.
My greatest hope is that my daughter understands the importance of eternal life and the complete and utter vanity of living a life neglecting its reality. If we don’t live forever, in the end nothing we do matters.
But if there is in fact an eternal aspect to our humanity, this must be the most important aspect of our lives. And now every bit of time and energy we put toward it will yield the greatest return on our investment, because it’s into these investments that we put our time and energy. This is how we store our treasures in heaven that will never fade.
This is wisdom and the greatest way to live our lives: in light of eternity.