Another angle of remembering is that while we freely make promises to our children, (we’ll do that soon, maybe tomorrow, not right now, in a little bit) we frequently hope that they will forget. When they continue to bring up these things with us, we can almost feel like their memory is an unseemly fault of theirs. Like remembering is nagging. Like claiming their right to something is selfish and wrong. God is the opposite of this to us. He delights in the transaction of promise and remembering. He loves for His people to repeat His promises back to Him. To come before His throne and say, “Lord, you said..”
We have changed some of our promising in our house to try to be more consistent with this. We try to only promise things that we are certain that we are going to do (Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise), and we also try to make remembrance welcome. One of our most practical changes has been saying, “We will do this later. If we have not done it by bedtime tomorrow, you can remind me and we will let you stay up late to do it.”
Not only does this keep me from casually saying the equivalent of, “Oh sure kids, we will stay up way into the night playing Monopoly, making playdough, making a puppet, practicing knitting, reading big books, riding our bikes, and going to the park!” – it also makes it a positive thing for the kids to remember, and makes them more certain of my word. It is so easy to train our children to not value our word to them, and it is so easy for us to almost prefer that.
But think of this in the context of the limitless, enormous things that God has promised to us. What kinds of things has He told us to remind Him of? What is the scope of the love that He has for us that He wants us to pray without ceasing, to come before Him with our every hurt and need, and He will lift us up. He has promised to sustain us through every trial, He has promised His love, He has promised His faithfulness. He has promised us that our sins will be washed away and that we will be whiter than snow, dressed in the righteousness of His son.
God is not afraid to promise big, and He delights in us hanging on to those promises.