Address - 1201 Maxwell Dr, Raleigh, NC 27603 Phone - (919) 772-4410 Give


Psalm 128:1 – Happy is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The familiar words of Robert Frost’s poem* indicate that the traveler is drawn in by the beauty of the forest. Woods are before him – woods where no responsibilities are waiting, and he could simply pause to be enveloped by the serenity of the night snowfall. He chooses, however, to continue his journey and return to his hard-working life before he can rest. Whether he means physical sleep or eternal sleep remains in the mind of the reader, but his promises are valuable enough to him that he urges his little horse on toward the tasks that lie ahead. He travels alone so no one is near to question his decision. He simply gives voice to his intention, and we believe he will live into his commitment.

Do you promise? Why is that an automatic sequel question at my house? If I say I will do something, I should follow through on that. If you say you will, you should. That should be the end of the conversation, but at our house the spontaneous follow-up query is never far behind. Do you promise? While growing up, my children were masters at the after-inquiry. I may have given voice to my intention, but believing I would keep my commitment required a more defined guarantee.

Could you bring me a surprise from your trip? Of course! Do you promise?
Will you be home early today? Yes, I will. Do you promise?
Can we have pizza for supper? May we, and absolutely. Do you promise?

Oftentimes, even fears were expressed in that question-and-promise formula. When will you die? Not for a very long time. Do you promise?

Children as young as four and five years of age are well acquainted with seeking promises. While they may not have the cognitive skills to fully grasp how to keep a promise, they are certainly experts at requesting them. For a child, a promise represents an assurance, a commitment, a feeling of security. For adults… not much changes.

“Honey, could we run to the craft store tomorrow?” Honey – that’s what I call Bill when I’m about to ask for something he won’t love. I know craft shopping is not his favorite way to spend his time, and I know the request means a couple of hours out of his full day. Bill, however, struggles to say no to a honey-appeal. “Sure.”

His answer is affirmative, but the word he chooses doesn’t feel binding. He sort of said yes, but I feel as though his “sure” stands for “Shopping Usually Requires Endurance.” That means he’ll do it, but perhaps begrudgingly. If I am to lock in his decision and rest with my assurance that this is really going to happen, I only have one course of action. “Do you promise?” I need the commitment. The look I usually get means I don’t have to ask. Bill is always one to keep his word.

Knowing that our life together is one of kept promises creates a happy home. The psalmist describes that type of home – that type of happiness – for everyone who walks in the way of the Lord. “You shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.” (Psalm 128:2)

Of the nearly 9000 promises in our Bible, over 7500 of them are promises to us made by God. From Genesis to Psalms to Hebrews and all the way into Revelation, God is consistent in making promises. The best part, though, is that God doesn’t require the after-question. God is faithful to fully keep every single commitment… and does! The same yesterday, today and tomorrow forever, scripture continually tells us that God remembers all covenants and keeps his promises.

What’s more, God never “sort of” says yes, never begrudgingly follows through, and never warrants our questioning. We don’t have to ask; God is always one to keep his Word, and that’s the best promise of all. May I continually walk in God’s ways and happily share God’s goodness with others all along my path.

Miles to go before I sleep,
Pastor Beth


Faithful God, I am blessed when I walk in your ways. Help me to trust you in everything I do, and hear my praise as you shower me with your goodness. May I faithfully share that goodness throughout sunny days or snowy evenings. Amen.

* Frost, Robert. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The Poetry of Robert Frost. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc., 1969.

© 2020 Saint Andrews United Methodist Church

Follow us: