Looking for a Loophole in the Promise You Made?
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

Looking for a loophole in the promise you made? You can always find one.

A teenager trapped in his automobile after an accident prayed, “God, if you get me out of this, I promise I’ll live for You.”

Firemen rescued him with “the jaws of life,” and a grateful young man thanked them profusely. But life went on. Occasionally, with a twinge of guilt, he remembered the promise he’d made to God. He’d shrug it off because he was young, and had lots of time ahead to make it right. (You can always find a loophole in a promise if you look for it.) After a while he forgot all about “living for God.”

A business man signed an important contract for property he thought was exactly what he needed. He’d told his lawyer to write a contract with no loopholes, so it couldn’t be broken by the other party.

A few days later an even more desirable property became available. “Find me a loophole in that contract,” he told his lawyer. The lawyer protested, but the man insisted, “That’s what I pay you for, so find it.”

He did break the contract. (You can always find a loophole in a contract if you look for it.) But he never understood afterward why people didn’t trust him enough to do business with him.

A bride and groom stood before their pastor and vowed to cherish each other “for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”

(Actually, they made the vow not only to each other but also to God). Malachi 2:14 says, “The LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.”

But the unhappy wife didn’t remember those sacred vows. After a few years, she tired of the marriage. “After all,” she said, “God doesn’t want me to be miserable for the rest of my life.”

So she got a divorce. (You can always find a loophole in your wedding vows if you look for it.) But she robbed her children of a loving father, with consequences that lasted a lifetime, and she never found the happiness she felt she deserved.

Ecclesiastes 5:4 says, “When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to Him.”

In our last conversation together, we talked about those who “keep their promises even when it hurts” (Psalm 15:4) The truth is, God honors the person who acts honorably. In His mercy, He can make the promise that hurts turn out to be a wonderful blessing. He can turn sorrow into joy, and pain into peace.

Years ago, a woman told me she was divorcing her husband because she wanted her sons to grow up in a Christian home. I asked her to keep her marriage vows and set out to win back her husband’s love by her sweet obedience. She did. Soon her husband became a believer.

Thirty years later, on vacation, Walt and I met them for dinner. That husband said, with tears, “Thank you for giving me back this woman. She has been such an incredible blessing all these years.”

And she responded, with tears, “Thank God you encouraged me to keep my wedding vows. This man has been the joy of my life, and exactly the father our boys needed.”