The Hidden Blessing of an Unfulfilled Promise

One of the most valuable things you can have in this life is a promise from God. “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). The reason promises from God are “exceedingly great and precious” is because they are guarantees that, before our story is finished, God is going to visit us with His power and glory.

When God has not yet answered, we get discouraged all too easily with the fact that we haven’t yet experienced our breakthrough. What we fail to fully appreciate is the amazing treasure that we actually possess—a promise from God.

The first thing I want to say to everyone who has a promise from God is this: Do everything in your power to keep your fingers wrapped around that promise! It’s just too precious to lose.

When holding to promise for a long time, we’re often tempted to lose heart and relinquish our hope. The reason it’s so imperative to hold fervently to promise is this: Jettisoned promises can be lost forever. Not every promise is unconditional. Some promises must be carried tenaciously if we are to see their fulfillment. We see this truth in these verses:

Do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12).

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Gal. 6:9).

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise (Heb. 10:35-36).

Hold onto promise like a wide receiver holding onto a football. As he sets his eyes on the goal line, he says within himself, “No matter what happens, I must not let go this football!” That’s how intently we must resolve to hold fast our confidence.

I can hardly imagine anything more tragic than to receive a promise from God but then to fumble it because it wasn’t fulfilled in our timing. To once have a promise, but to be now without it, is like subsisting in a wasteland of heartsick hopelessness.

My soul refuses to live in the badlands of abandoned promises. I am resolved to do whatever I must to keep His promise close to my heart. Fasting, prayer, and word immersion are gifts from God to empower us to maintain our grip on His promise.

When you have a promise firmly in your possession, an uncommon boldness and confidence overtakes your soul. The unfulfilled promise means that it must be fulfilled in your lifetime. That confidence puts boldness in your soul about the present.

Let me explain what I mean with some biblical examples.

Abraham had a promise that God would make him into a great nation (Gen. 12:2), even though his wife was barren. At a time when Abraham still had no son, Lot was taken captive by invaders. In response, Abraham mobilized the entirety of his resources—318 men—against the federation of foreign armies (Gen. 14:14). The odds were stacked miserably against Abraham, but promise had placed a boldness in his spirit, and he stepped forward audaciously to engage the enemy. Guess who won? The man who carried a promise. A legion of foreign armies can’t kill a man with an unfulfilled promise.

Caleb had been promised a mountain in Canaan (Josh. 14:9,12). Not only did that promise empower him to endure the 40-year trek through the wilderness, it also preserved his body so that at age 85 he had the strength and energy of a 40-year-old (Josh. 14:11). God preserved his strength so he could take and inhabit the promise given him 45 years earlier.

David had been promised the throne when he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sa. 16:13). That promise put brash boldness into David’s spirit, so much so that he went up against Goliath, a seasoned champion of the Philistine army (1 Sa. 17:48). After all, how can a man of faith who carries a powerful promise and is led by the Holy Spirit be taken out prematurely by an uncircumcised Philistine?

Peter had been promised by Jesus that he would live to an old age (Jn. 21:18). When he was imprisoned by Herod (Acts 12:3), he wasn’t old yet. That’s why, even though he was slated for execution on the following day, he lay fast asleep between his two guards. Why stay up and fret when you’re living under the shelter of an unfulfilled promise? The promise that he would reach an old age gave Peter the confidence to get a solid night’s sleep before his seemingly inescapable death. And of course we know the story—Peter was released from prison by an angel (Acts 12:11). Why? It was impossible for him to die before he was an old man.

If you have a promise from God, allow that promise to put this same kind of boldness in your soul. Okay, so you haven’t received your breakthrough yet. Okay, so all you have is a promise. But do you know what you’ve got?



Our violent pursuit of God must be wedded to a gentle and humble spirit. Humility is the foundation of all prayer. Humility says, “Lord, I am empty without Your fullness; I am broken without Your wholeness; I am helpless without Your strength; I am clueless without your wisdom. Apart from You I am nothing. I need You!  I need You so desperately that I am pouring myself out to You here in the secret place.”

Prayerlessness is the first sign of prideful independence. We begin to trim back on our secret time with God when we’re feeling great about ourselves, energetic and optimistic about our future, and confident about the path we’re taking. It’s the first sign that we’re getting full of ourselves.

This morning, even before I knew I would be writing this chapter today, I was enjoying the words of Agur, who wrote, “Surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One” (Proverbs 30:2-3). The wisdom of Agur was in having a proper self-assessment of his own stupidity. Would to God that we all owned that same awareness! It would drive us back to our knees, back to the source of all wisdom, back to “the only wise God.” If He alone is wise, where does that place us?

Once you see His greatness and your bankruptcy, there comes great joy in humbling yourself before the Lord. With what delight the elders cast their crowns at the foot of the throne! They take what represents the aggregate compilation of all their achievements and throw it all down at the feet of Him from whom it all proceeded in the first place. He gave it to us that we might give it all back to Him. None of this was our idea, it all started with Him and it all ends with Him. He is everything, and as we are joined to Him the poverty of our personal identity is lost in the fullness of His eternal greatness.

David wrote, “O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory” (Psalm 108:1). We know He is referring in this verse to his secret place because his term “my heart is steadfast” was always used of his personal commitment to being alone with his God. He abandoned his heart to God, so he said, “with my glory.” What was David’s glory? It was the sum total of his attainments. David had the glory of a king—wealth, honor, prestige, dignity, splendor, and power. He also had the glory of being a psalmist and a prophet. He took the total of all God had given him and made him, and presented it to God in song and praise.  The greater his prestige, the greater the joy he had in surrendering that to the majesty of God.  What a privilege to lay all our life attainments at His feet in profound awareness of His all-surpassing greatness! The greater I am, the more joy I have in taking that greatness and bowing it before Him. “And the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it” (Revelation 21:24).

He dignifies us that we might have something to lay before Him in humility and devotion. God dignifies us—with sonship, glory, acceptance, royalty, purpose, significance, wealth, honor, salvation, wisdom, revelation, understanding, status, character, holiness, victories—so that we might enjoy the highest privilege of casting it all at His feet. What a holy privilege is ours, to come into the throneroom of His presence and empty ourselves of all dignity by prostrating ourselves before Him, worshiping Him with our entire being.

The servant of God who owns his nothingness finds no greater joy than searching out ever-increasing ways to humble himself in the presence of the Almighty One. “‘And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight’” (2 Samuel 6:22). Throw yourself at His feet today; He is worthy of the highest praise!

This is an excerpt from Bob Sorge’s bestselling book, Secrets of the Secret Place.  Click here for more information on Bob’s books and other resources.


The Secret of the Shut Door

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6).

Jesus Himself spoke these blessed words. All Scripture is God-breathed, but followers of Jesus always find special delight in giving particular attention the words Jesus Himself gave us. When Jesus taught on prayer, He gave primary emphasis to the secret place. In fact, the first thing He taught concerning prayer was the primacy of the secret place. In the verses following, He would teach us how to pray, but first He teaches where to pray.

Matthew 6:6 contains a powerful secret regarding the where of prayer, but before I share it let me ask a question. Do you struggle frequently with feeling disconnected from God? Do you strain to feel God’s presence when you pray? Does He seem distant to you? Do you long to know that He is with you, right now, drawing near to you?

If your answer to any of those questions is, “Yes,” then I have some wonderful news for you. There is a guaranteed way to get into God’s presence. There is a sure-fire 100% guaranteed way to have instant intimacy with the Father, and Jesus Himself gave us the key. Jesus gave us this secret in the above verse when He said, “Your Father who is in the secret place.” Jesus is saying, “Your Father is already in the secret place. He has gone ahead of you; He is waiting for you. The moment you get to the secret place, you are in the immediate presence of your Father.”

Jesus affirmed this truth twice in the same chapter. He says it the second time in Matthew 6:18, “‘So that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.’” Jesus says it twice for emphasis, so we know this word is absolutely certain. Our Father is in the secret place!

Furthermore, Jesus gives us the key to finding this secret place. If you’re wondering what you must do to place yourself in the secret place, Jesus made it clear. To get there, all you have to do is shut your door!

When you enter your room, and shut your door, you are in the presence of your Father. Instantaneously! It matters not how you feel. Regardless of your soul’s climate at that moment, you know with absolute confidence you have stepped into the chamber of your Father in heaven. The secret place is your portal to the throne, the place where you taste of heaven itself. Receive this word and you have gained one of the greatest secrets to intimacy with God. Because when you know you are in the immediate presence of your Father, your spirit and soul will often respond to that knowledge with heartfelt connectedness. The knowledge of this truth will set your spirit free to soar.

When you build your life on the blessed intimacy of a secret place relationship with God, you are building on the rock. You’re getting your foundations in order. That’s not simply my opinion, that’s the explicit teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. The principles Jesus gave in Chapters 5-7 of Matthew’s Gospel were all given at one time, in one great sermon. Jesus said that in this sermon He was laying forth the foundation stones of a disciple’s life. Here’s how He expressed it:

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Jesus’ message is unmistakable. He is saying, “If you will hear and do what I have taught you in this Sermon on the Mount, you will build foundations into your life that will survive the harshest storms of life.” And believe me, friend, storms will most certainly come! There are some storms that have yet to hit your life. The question is, will you have the foundation in place to survive the storms?

One of the most essential elements of that foundation is to have an intact secret life with God. Those who hear this word and do it will not only enjoy intimacy with the Father on a daily basis, but they will also be equipped to sustain the greatest storms—whether they originate from hell’s fury or the world’s distractions or the floodgates of heaven’s blessings.

Don’t forget the secret: shut your door.

This is an excerpt from Bob Sorge’s bestselling book, Secrets of the Secret Place.  Click here for more information on Bob’s books and other resources.