Boats and Promises

My family and I went to what we call “Angel Island,” which is a small patch of dirt in the middle of the canals on North Padre Island. We like this little island because the kids can’t wander off, and we can watch the boats and the skiers as they jet on by. On the other side of the canal on this particular day were two dogs. Their owners landed their boat on the strip of land adjacent to us, and the dogs enjoyed running up and down the length of the shore.

Whenever a boat or jet skier would drive by, one of the dogs would chase it until he ran out of land. He would start at one end of the strip and run the distance of a football field to the other side. The boats were going about 35 mph, and this dog kept pace! I couldn’t believe how fast he ran and how excited he looked chasing these boats.

I felt kind of bad for the dog, though. He never caught the boats. The land would run out and the boats would zip on past him. The dog didn’t seem to mind because he would go back to where he started and wait for another boat to come. I think the dog loved the thrill of chasing the boats. He didn’t really need to catch them.

This made me think of God’s promises to us. I’ve realized that God always puts His promises to us way out in the distance. They are almost never within our immediate reach. In order to claim these promises, we have to get our running shoes on and chase them.

“Why do you make it so hard, God?” I asked Him.

God whispered into my heart: “Those promises mean very little to me, but you mean everything to me. I place those promises away from you so you can move from Point A (old selfish nature) to Point B (Christ-likeness). I want you close to me, so I place promises along the way to draw you near and to teach, encourage and bless you.”

Finally, after years of waiting on God to fulfill His promises to me, I understood what I was doing wrong. God’s promises are already fulfilled. If He gave them to me, they are recorded in history as completed and I shouldn’t worry about the timing. What I need to focus on is the chase. How am I running after my promises? Am I focused like that dog with a huge grin on my face and my tongue lolling out to one side? Or am I whining and complaining to God that He is taking too long and He is making it too hard?

I think God wants to us to enjoy the chase. He put promises around us to make life fun and rewarding. He didn’t put them there to make us miserable. My goal for myself now is to enjoy the chase. Chasing dreams is a privilege, and God has given me gifts, talents and the Holy Spirit to help me run to win.

Unlike the dog, if I run out of land, God will teach me to run on water so I can continue to chase my boat. And when I finally catch it, I want to be eager for another promise and another chase! Promises help me to cultivate a deeper relationship with God, so I want to chase after a bunch of them! I desire for Jesus to be my best friend before I meet Him face to face.

What promises has God given you? Are you chasing them with determination, clinging onto Him the entire way? How can you begin to enjoy the chase and feel secure in His love for you?

“I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise”

(Psalm 119.58 NIV).

Alisa Hope Wagner

Alisa Hope Wagner is aggressive about leading a simple life. She enjoys working out, reading, writing and communicating God’s love and truth. She married her high school sweetheart, and together they enjoy raising their children in a Christ-centered home. Though an introvert by nature, Alisa easily expresses herself through social media, especially on her blog. She has earned her B.A. Degree in English and her M.S. Degree in Applied English Linguistics, and she volunteered in women’s ministry leadership and life group ministry for her church. She trained in Mixed Martial Arts and won her bout by TKO! She has written her debut novel, Eve of Awakening, and has started the sequel, Bear Into Redemption.

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  1. Amen, great post.

  2. Never thought to just relax and enjoy the chase. Some have called me strange because of my love to do housework. It isn’t the work part that I love but the finished product. Your post has made me see just like the housework if I keep chasing the promise (calling) God has given me I will see the finished product. And already I have caught the beautiful glimpes of a fulfilled promise.

    Thank you for the encouragment.

  3. Experiencing the joy of chasing hard after God…Sometimes its hard to remember to look for that in the everyday, particularly when the chase is difficult. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Your devotional reminded me so much of Streams in the Desert I read today…I was writing in my journal today and thanked Jesus for answering all my prayers. For being there ALL the time..and I asked forgiveness for not seeing Him all this time, and acting like a two year old having a temper tantrum most times…He has answered all my prayers…He has been there for me all this time..even before I acknowledged Him into my life,,He was there…waiting for me to reach out…

    I loved what you wrote. It was confirmation to me also of the Lord speaking to my heart these last few days…

  5. I enjoyed this post Alisa! Thanks!

  6. I really like this one. The imagery is really good and shows. As we chase after God’s promises we also grow in character. Good stuff. 🙂

  7. Good devotional! Just what I needed. Trying for baby #2 for 7 months now and getting a little discouraged. Maybe God wants me to “chase this promise” for a while.

  8. Beautiful, Alisa! I like chasing God too. Sometime He even lets me catch Him!

  9. Nice. To be closer to God, I think it requires us to really get into His Word. It seems when we get so busy with life we forget to chase Him. The Bible sits on our shelf untouched. And we feel farther away. The moment I pick up the Bible and go to God in quiet prayer is when I feel the closest to Him. I don’t know why I don’t do it as often as I should…

  10. Oh….ready to run on water….

    Loved this, Alisa!

  11. Well written Al! I chased after God’s promise of a second child for two and a half years, frantically running this race and that one, when I could have waited patiently for His appointed time. This appointed race. I could have enjoyed life more and had less of a broken heart each of those 32 months. I handled myself better than I had in years past, but I was still ” running too fast in the wrong race” (Third Day = Slow Down). Thank God He used all of it to shape and teach me!

  12. Love this post. I often wonder also why God makes it so hard sometimes but I guess those things that are worth having are worth exerting a little effort for.
    Thanks for sharing

  13. Hmm, great “food” for thought, here! I know I for one need to stop feeling overwhelmed and just rely on Him to show me which bite of the elephant to chew on next! And enjoy the journey! Thanks for sharing.



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