“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them – it was that promise.” -Thornton Wilder
We don’t care much for keeping promises in this day and age. Promises require time and precision and waiting and diligence and commitment and long suffering and patience. All the things a 21st century citizen hopes to avoid. Comfort and convenience are more our style. That’s why we like the drive-thru rather than the dining room, texting rather than talking, the microwave over the oven. We have a tendency to shy away from situations that are going to require more emotional energy than we feel we can spare.
We live in an age that has at its disposal more tools for efficiency than ever before. More apps designed to assist us, to help us be smarter, slicker, more savvy. Yet we are the most busy culture on the planet. Covered up with chaos. Stifled by inconsistency. We replace substance for shiny. We sing the praises of upstarts. We put their faces on the covers of magazines. We put longevity in the nursing home and feed it apple sauce. Like a child, we change the rules as we go along, especially when we don’t like the way the game is being played or when it stops advancing our singular agendas.
Doesn’t it stand to reason that with all of this intellectual development, technological support and evolutionary growth, we would be the culture who got it right? When those who would come after us opened up our yearbook, they would find we were voted Most Zen? Instead, we need an inordinate amount of counselors to console, pills to find peace, substances to soothe. We sacrifice our sons and daughters on the altar of technology every single day believing that somehow broadband will heal brokenness. We are the smartest fools that have ever lived.
Today, I’ve been married 14 years. A drop in the bucket compared to the many successful marriages I know and respect. But on this day, I made a promise. One that I, in my flawed humanity, was not capable of keeping. I cannot see a diet through to the end, much less a lifetime of monogamy. My husband, in turn, promised me what he could not deliver on his own. The kind of promise that is a reflection of a permanence fit only for worship. God deals in promises. They are His currency. He created the spiritual muscles that are strengthened while we wait. We don’t need the latest technological device. We need courage and accountability. We need resilience and persistence. We need faith and hope. Turns out, we have never needed an app for that.