Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Locked Room of Promises

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

The Lord has made a promise…He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day and the moon and stars to give light by night. He promises it as the one who stirs up the seas so that its waves roll. He promises it as the one who is known as the Lord who rules over all. Jeremiah 31:35, NET (The Introduction to the Book of Consolation)

The first time I laid eyes on the room, the walls were covered in ugly brown carpet, and I was covered in dust and sweat. This was the room I was to somehow transform for my small son and the baby on its way. Tears streaked my dirty face as I sat heavily on the windowsill overlooking the open courtyard, exhausted and too weak for the task of ripping carpet fixed with hundreds of nails to the plaster.

We had lived in the ancient North African city, surrounded by towering, ochre-colored walls, for over a year. Longing for a house with a garden so our son could play and I could grow flowers, we had searched and found this one. The house nestled in a small valley like a cup in a saucer, its rooms forlorn and neglected for too long. It would take work to make it livable, but the rare garden and spacious courtyard was too good to pass up.

For weeks we trekked across the city from our old house to the new, carrying out debris, sweeping, and cleaning. One hot afternoon I arrived to find my husband and a friend laughing merrily as they removed nails, one-by-one from the boys’ room. Those dear men worked tirelessly to transform the unsightly walls into a smooth, paintable surface. 

When they were done, I set to work painting the walls a comforting light blue. With brushes borrowed from my three-year-old’s paint jar, I stenciled the promises of God the entire stretch of the long room’s walls, all 50 feet of them. 

I searched the Bible for truths, the truest things about my children. 

Apple of God’s Eye. Beloved. Accepted. Held. Known. Loved. 

Round the room they went, reminding and my children that the truest things about them are what God says about them.
When we left that house years later to return to the United States I lingered long in that room of sun-dappled promises. Leaving them behind felt like loss. 
But I carried God’s promises with me in my heart, and I believed they were true no matter where we dwelt.
In the seasons since, we have experienced change, adjustment, growth, and suffering. Pain has come like an unwelcome intruder dressed in disappointment, illness, and death. We have had ample opportunity to ask ourselves, do the promises of God still stand?
Last week my husband and son revisited our old house. It has stood empty for ten years now. An impulse rose in me, urgent, pressing. 

“Please take pictures of the promise room for me. I need to see that it is still there. That the words are still there, waiting,” I begged my husband. 

He didn’t criticize me, and in the way those who have lived life across worlds and cultures understand in each other, he understood my need to see that room once more.
They discovered our pet turtle was still there, grown much bigger. The green and yellow swing set brought in from Europe still stood in the garden. But the room of promises was locked tight, the door strong and solid, immovable. They could not enter it.
My disappointment was palpable, and I asked God why it mattered so much to me.
My promises are true though the door be locked and you cannot see them.
God gives us His promises, and He keeps them.
We believe them, and we write them on the walls of our lives. We remind ourselves of them, depend on them, repeat them to others. We carry them with us wherever we go. And then we suffer. We go through a season when the promises seem locked away. We can’t see them and our hearts grope around blindly, battling despair.
We are not the first to grope blindly for the promises of God we know are there just beyond our reach. In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, there are three key chapters called the Book of Consolation. In these passages, the prophet comforts God’s people while they were captive in Babylon, speaking of the restoration and the new covenant to come. He reminds them of God’s promises, which surely seemed locked in a room with a door they could not budge during those seventy long years.
The Lord has made a promise…He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day and the moon and stars to give light by night. He promises it as the one who stirs up the seas so that its waves roll. He promises it as the one who is known as the Lord who rules over all. Jeremiah 31:35, NET (The Introduction to the Book of Consolation)
The One who promised them restoration and a new covenant through the coming Messiah was no mere mortal with shifting opinions and allegiances. He was the Lord who rules over all, the one who fixed the sun and moon into the heavens and created the seas. 

No promise breaker, that One.

Do the promises of God seem locked away from your view today, inaccessible? Take heart, for the One who promises is the One who caused the sun to rise this morning. He is no breaker of promises. They remain, though the door be locked.

Lord, help me trust You today to keep your promises to me. Amen.

A locked room of promises - insight from @AudreyCFrank on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography (geographical location)  and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Her upcoming book, From Shame to Honor, is an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, From Shame to Honor illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Look for it through Harvest House Publishers in the fall of 2018.


  1. Powerful truths you do speak Thank you for this.
    Jay; Anderson, SC

    1. Thank you for reading, Jay! Blessings to you today, Audrey

  2. Powerful blog. Thanks so much for sharing. Something I needed to hear today.

  3. Your comment is an encouragement to me today and I pray you will find the hope to perservere in His promises for you. Blessings! Audrey

  4. A locked door allowed you to see the real message, and through your skill we can too.Thanks for penning this article.

  5. What a beautiful truth. Thank you.