Rummaging through our junk drawer this week, I came across a gift from my wife that has brought me nothing but trouble.

Hold it right there. You keep presents from your wife in the junk drawer? Is that supposed to make me keep reading whatever it is you have to say? I’m happy to explain. Everything else I’ve ever received from Valerie is a treasure. But in this case…

I’m speaking here of a booklet of love coupons placed in my stocking one Christmas. You’ve surely received something similar at one point in your life – a bundle of certificates entitling the bearer, at his or her behest, to a smattering of various benefits such as back rubs, dates, baked goods, relaxation, respite from chores, or other goodies. Whoever invented these well-intended documents of doom wasn’t a master of foresight.

The problem doesn’t lie in the gift or the sentiment. It’s in the redemption. Flipping fondly through the book, I plucked out a coupon for a 30-minute massage and approached the one from whom the much-appreciated thought originated.

“Look what I found. Do you think I could redeem this tonight?”

Body language is an amazing thing. Val said nothing, but I suddenly felt as if her love were a dairy product and I was three weeks past the expiration date. With one look from her, I very clearly heard the following paragraph thunder between my ears:

“Are you kidding me? I’m eight months pregnant and about to pop in the middle of summer, and you have the audacity to bring me a COUPON? If there’s anybody who should be receiving a massage tonight, mister, it’s me! In fact, if you really loved me, you’d know when I was too busy or moody or tired!”

And there it is. Something that had been designed to show HER love to ME had turned into something that demonstrated my perceived LACK of love of HER. How did that happen? Stupid coupons. Back into the junk drawer until you’re more convenient to my wife – maybe on our twentieth anniversary getaway trip… in 2018.

That’s why, in need of unconditional promises I could count on (and a little sensitivity training, but that’s another essay), I pulled out the old concordance when I got to the office this morning, seeking out scriptures about which I could pray: “Look what I found. Do you think I could redeem this tonight?”

Valerie is human; I’m unwise. Our God is neither. He loves us more than we can fathom and He’s put together quite a package of unbreakable promises that have no flaw in the redemption, so long as we submit them with faith:

Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and patience. (Hebrews 6:12)

Holding fast to promise in difficult times was a major theme for New Testament authors. These are just a few examples of the encouragement they offer through telling us what’s available to the believer through Christ (all quotations from the New Living Translation):

“And by that same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in His divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).