The Deep Well with Erin Davis Podcast

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Episode 1: Our Brokenness, God’s Promises

Erin Davis: Hey, Kesha, did you ever say this phrase: "Cross my heart, hope to die; stick a needle in my eye"?

Kesha Griffin: I absolute did! Where did that come from, and why do we say that? It's weird.

Erin: It's really weird. I tried to teach my boys a nicer version of it, but you can imagine, as boys do, they've turned it into . . .

Kesha: They've run with it.

Erin: Yeah, they've run with that. I heard that one momma taught her kids to say, "stick a cupcake in my eye."

Kesha: Oh, my goodness.

Erin: I don't want a cupcake in my eye! I want a cupcake in my mouth!

It's a weird saying. I think we say it because we're skeptical that people are going to keep their promises. Even from little bitty kids say that. We don't believe it when someone says, "I promise."

Kesha: Welcome to The Deep Well, a podcast from Revive Our Hearts. I'm Kesha Griffin.

You can expect a teaching series from Erin every quarter here on The Deep Well. But we are here with a bonus series—three days on the promises of God from Revelation 21. Here's Erin.

Erin: Well, I wonder if there are any two words in the English language that carry more baggage than “I promise”? Whether the promise is big or small, we almost instinctively assume that the person promising us something has their fingers crossed behind their back, that they have no intention of following through.

What is that thing that kids say when they make a promise? “Cross my heart; hope to die; stick a needle in my eye.” It’s a weird saying, but it’s proof that we’re all pretty skeptical in the promises department. We like to have a down payment before we buy in.

A promise is at its core, banking on future hope. The promise is not the reward itself. I’m grateful for my engagement ring, but it wouldn’t mean much without the marriage.

Paul wrote about this in Romans chapter 8. He wrote, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (v. 24)

Perhaps this is why promises can be so hard to hold onto. By their very nature, they force us to hope in something we cannot fully see, something we cannot fully grasp, something that can never fit on our bar graph and spreadsheets.

Our hope is in all that we don’t see. Our hope is in the promises of God.

Now, the Bible contains more than 5,000 divine promises. These are statements to which God is unchangeably committed. And, therefore, these 5,000 promises are statements upon which we can totally depend—they are as good as in the bank.

I am writing the promises of Scripture for my four sons. It’s an effort that can take me many, many years, but I can’t think of anything more important as a mother than to show my sons how to hold on to the promises of God because the promises of God are like a prism.

If you’ve ever seen a prism, you know how they work. The light comes in on one side, and then it actually bends and sends a reflection somewhere else. The light comes in, and it looks like one thing. Once inside the prism, it bends, and it looks like something totally different. When God’s promises become our lens, that’s how it works. Everything in our lives bends into something new.

If you’ve ever seen the light of a prism, you know it’s beautiful. The promises of God bend everything in our lives into something beautiful.

So you’re already with me in the book of Revelation, and we’re going to park there together for a while. God’s Word is full of promises, but my very favorites are found in this book—the book of Revelation.

The passage we’re going to look at together has done so much for me. It’s made me a fearless ambassador for the gospel. I don’t fear the current moment when I think about all that God has promised. It’s made me a woman who can endure suffering with grace and even joy. The joy that James talks about, related to suffering, I see it here in the book of Revelation as it points us forward.

It’s made me a mother who’s able to play the long game of parenthood. It’s made me a Bible teacher in love with my Bible. I hope that you hear it in my voice—these words have changed me. They’re changing me still.

Listen as I read to us Revelation 21:1–5:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

I don’t want you to switch into autopilot here as we’re reading this chunk of Scripture. I sometimes face that temptation when I’m hearing somebody teach. I want you to imagine this. I want you to imagine a loud voice booming from God’s throne and saying that God will dwell with us in a way that we’ve not yet experienced.

And then listen to the promises; picking it up in verse 4:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

These words that we’re reading were written by the apostle John, and he was exiled to the Island of Patmos for his faith. So he didn’t write these words at a happy moment when all was well with him. He wrote these words as he was alone, as he was suffering, as he was being punished, as he was being cut off from the people of God. In the midst of the suffering, under a repressive Roman empire, John was given a vision of the day when all suffering would pass away.

I know that any of us who have experienced an intense moment of suffering probably wished that we could have a vision of the new heaven and the new earth like John did. But God gave it to John and recorded it here for us.

God in His mercy will deliver a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 1:1 tells us that all of this must soon take place. That’s how it’s described. I like to imagine how tightly John held on to that lifeline, that soon the suffering would pass away as he lived out his sentence as a religious prisoner in exile.

If we look at God’s Word as a gold mine for a moment, as we come to Revelation 21, we just hit the mother lode. I’m convinced that for every single area of ache . . . As you’re listening, I’m sure there are areas of ache in your heart. I’m convinced that for every area of ache, God’s Word gives us a promise to hold onto.

For now, I just want us to focus on two areas in my own life where I need God’s promises most often to bend my reality into something new: God’s promises for our broken bodies and God’s promises for our broken hearts.

I don’t know about you, but I’m suffering from brokenness fatigue.

Just this morning I was scrolling through the newsfeeds on my phone, and I saw the word “fatigue” in multiple headlines. We’re tired. As I sit on the pew in my church on Sunday mornings, the cancer list is just too long. There are too many babies who are sick. There are too many marriages on life support. As I hear that list, I’m so grateful to know how I can pray for the fellow saints, but I need some hope. I need a lifeline to hold onto.

What is our hope in these days of desperation? When I believe the front of darkness has moved toward the people of God, we hope in the promises of God.

So, first, what does God’s Word promise for our broken bodies?

We have four sons and three of those four sons have serious kidney issues. Just this month I learned that I am the weak genetic link as my own kidneys have struggled to keep up. So in a family of six, four of us with kidney problems.

Eli is our oldest. He’s twelve years old, and his kidney issues seem to be the most severe. He only has one functioning kidney. So every year we load everybody up, and we head to the children’s hospital a couple of hours away from our home, and we meet with our pediatric urology team.

I always spend the weeks before that appointment praying, because I am of the opinion that if God can raise Jesus from the dead, He can raise one little kidney back to life inside the body of my boy—but so far He hasn’t done it.

I’ve seen enough of those ultrasounds to know what I’m looking at. Every year I go into Eli’s screening. He’s there on the table, and I look up at the screen, and I can tell—this isn’t the year. God hasn’t chosen to heal my boy—yet.

While I do feel the sting of disappointment every time, here’s what I know for sure: My son will be healed. How can I know that when year after year after year I’m praying for something that hasn’t happened yet? Because Revelation 21 tells us that Jesus is making all things new, even bad kidneys.

When Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to pray for His kingdom to come, and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. He was asking us to pray with our future reality in mind. Whether it’s on this side of heaven or the other side of heaven, my boy will be fully healed. I’m essentially asking Him every year to do here on earth what He’s going to do in heaven someday.

Our ultimate hope is not in the healing of my son’s kidneys. It’s not in any physical healing that we would pray for here on earth. Our ultimate hope is not that God would heal these broken vessels.

So often as we gather together at funerals, we’ll say something like, “She lost her battle with cancer,” or “He lost his fight with ALS.” And the promises of God bend that reality for the saints. The diseases that attack our bodies ultimately, they lose their battle with us, and we win because we have the promise of glory with Jesus, free from all pain, from all physical suffering.

Listen to Philippians 3:20–21: 

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

There’s another promise. Write it down. He’s going to transform these lowly bodies into glorious bodies with the same resurrection power that God used to raise Him from the dead.

The promise is not that you and the people you love most will never face physical suffering. And the promise is not that God will heal you in the way and the timeline that you hope He will.

The promise is that a day is coming when, if you are a child of God, you will be fully healed. Confused minds and aching backs and dead kidneys will be traded in for glorified bodies. The Bible describes them as “imperishable bodies” granted to us by Jesus.

So what about our broken hearts? I don’t know about you, but give me a broken body over a broken heart any day. Scripture promises us that God is close to the brokenhearted, and I can tell you that promise is true. I’m so grateful for His nearness when our hearts break—but that’s not the full promise.

The full promise . . . our future hope is not that God is with us when our hearts are broken. Our future hope is that He is going to put an end to all heartbreak—at long last.

I want you to think for a minute about what is breaking your heart right now. Just for a moment. I don’t want us to linger there. But there’s no point in pretending our hearts don’t hurt. And now listen again to the beautiful promises of God found in Revelation 21:4:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

If you’re in the midst of a heartache right now, and I think if you have a pulse, you’re probably in the midst of a heartache right now. I’m sure, like me, you want to know when. “When will the crying stop? When will the pain be over?”

This isn’t a promise for the here and now. Remember that to hold onto God’s promises means to hold onto future hope. The promise is that a day is coming—after the final judgment, after the redemption of God’s people, when Christ will come to earth to reign and rule.

Make a list of all the things God’s promised to remove permanently from the lives of His children: Every tear, death, mourning, crying, and pain. It’s a short list, but it sure packs a punch.

Why are tears and crying and mourning mentioned so repeatedly? Maybe because it’s because there’s so much of them in our lives here on earth. And yet, here’s the promise. It’s as good as in the bank. They’re goners. They’re destined to pass away.

So whether something grieves you for two days, or two years, or two decades, or your entire life, here’s God’s promise. Reach out and grab onto it with both hands right now: It will not grieve you forever.

We have a couple of sayings in our family. One of them comes from my Aunt Rhonda. She says, “This came to pass. It didn’t come to stay.” The idea is that whatever it is, it’s just passing through.

There’s another saying we say to each other pretty frequently, and it’s that “All bad things must come to an end.” Maybe you’ve heard it the other way, that “All good things must come to an end.” But for the child of God, the reality that God has promised us here in Revelation 21 is, “All bad things must come to an end.” In the fullness of time, because of God’s mercy towards us, our broken hearts and our broken bodies will be made new.

My friend Cathy prayed for me recently. She’s one of those women that’s not a prayer warrior; she’s a prayer general. When she prays, your heart just perks up and pays attention. I won’t say it as beautifully as she did, but she prayed something like this, “Jesus, help Erin to know there is a reservoir of hope. It’s always waiting for her, and she can drink from that reservoir any time she wants to. And help Erin to know that when she cannot drink, I will hold the cup for her.”

I want you to think of that reservoir of hope for a moment, and I want you to let me hold the cup for you. The promises of God are always right there. They’re always there for you to take a drink and find hope.

But you know, we’re skeptical about promises. How can we know for sure? How can we know for sure that God will keep His promises to make all things new?

I want you to close your eyes for a minute. I want you to close your eyes and consider the brokenness in your life that needs to bend as I read 2 Corinthians 1:19–20:

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

How can we know? How can we know that God will keep His promises? Because He sent Jesus, the Redeemer. He promised to save us from our desperate brokenness.

Hear me: If your heart is hurting or your body is broken, hear me: The cross is collateral for all the promises of God. “Crossed His heart; chose to die; stuck a spear in His side.” Let’s pray.

Jesus, we love You, and we know that You love us. We are so grateful for Your precious promises. I pray for everybody listening to grab onto these promises as the lifeline that they are and to trust that a future hope is coming for our broken hearts and our broken bodies and that You will see us through. It’s in Your holy, holy, holy name I pray, amen.

Kesha: I know a thing or two about broken promises, and I'm sure you do too. I needed that reminder that God's promises are different; we can count on them. They are as good as in the bank. Here on The Deep Well podcast, we will continue looking at the powerful promises found in Revelation 21. Erin Davis will keep teaching from this passage she loves so much for two more episodes.

If you love learning the Bible from Erin, let me encourage you to get a copy of her latest Bible study. It's called 7 Feasts: Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament. Erin, Revelation, Leviticus!? You sure seem to like to take us off-road in our Bible study!

Erin: Yeah, that's one of my favorite things to do, because all Scripture matters, all Scripture is inspired. It all helps us to live the Christian life. If we decide we're not going to be scared to go off-road, as you said, then reading the Bible becomes this grand adventure—like a treasure quest. The treasure that we find on that adventure is a better understanding of who God is.

Kesha: You can get a copy of  7 Feasts: Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com/TheDeepWell.

Erin: In each season of The Deep Well, a different friend sits in the cohost seat. Kesha, I am so excited that you are with us for this bonus season because I love your heart. I know the women listening are going to love it too.

You want women to know the Bible. You want women to live the Bible. You're a pastor's wife. You are someone whom the Bible has transformed. I know that you walk with women as they walk with Jesus. I know that you already know that the Bible is a deep well and that you already cling to the promises in Scripture, but I'd love for you to tell us a little bit about how the promises of God has changed your own life.

Kesha: One way the Bible has transformed my own life is to help me navigate suffering. Of course, after my salvation and recognizing my own sinfulness and my need for a savior, we have to walk the path of sanctification. One way that Scripture has changed my life, is to help me renew my mind and give me a biblical perspective on all things. But one important thing is suffering—how to suffer as a Christian while we are here.

Erin: I cling to my Bible more tightly when I am suffering. Unfortunately, when things are good, I tend to loosen my grip. But Revelation 21 is one of those go-to passages for suffering. It doesn't say I'm not going to suffer. It doesn't say that suffering is going to be over soon on an earthly timeline. But there is this promise beyond the suffering.

I think of points in my life where all I could do was read that passage and believe that it was true.

Kesha: Amen! It is so comforting and give you great hope that even though we are suffering, the new is coming. There is going to be a place where there is no more suffering, so we have to cling to those promises. I'm glad for your teaching of the Revelation 21 series.

Erin Unscripted

Kesha: Okay, in 2020 it seemed like everything was hopeless from the pandemic to the political friction, division of Christians. You see that played out on social media, wearing masks/not wearing masks. We can easily get caught up and feel hopeless. And sadly, as we know some have struggled with depression during the pandemic. Increase in suicidal thoughts and domestic violence increased during the pandemic, and we have suffered personally as well—death of loved ones, family, and friends who were ill from COVID. Life was hard. 

Erin, how did you cling to hope in 2020, in the midst of all of the brokenness and suffering?

Erin: I love that question, cause isn’t that the question? How do we hold on to hope? And it wasn’t just 2020, now we’re into 2021 and there was no magic wand. We didn’t ring in the new year and suddenly everything went away. 

Suffering ebbs and flows, so I don’t know what it will be like in six months or six years or sixty years. But I do know that I have to have a way to deal with suffering, because it’s going to keep coming. 

I’m forty. I won’t ask how you are, Kesha. But as I age, I am realizing, “Oh, suffering is the norm.” The pockets where it doesn’t feel brutal are the exception.

And so, the way that I hold on to hope in either times of personal suffering or where the world seems to be groaning as it is right now, they’re going to sound so practical. I don’t know any other way. They work. 

And you know I need the Bible. I need it. The Bible describes itself like food, and that is really what it is for me. Like I must eat it; I must eat it every day.

I have to get myself to it, but also, I’m a person of the flesh. So I wake up every day, and I don’t want to open my Bible. I wake up every day, and I want to do something else.

Kesha: Yes.

Erin: So, I have these guardrails in my life to keep me pointed towards the right source of hope. I’ve got a group of friends. We text each other every morning what we read in Scripture that day. I’ve got apps on my phone. I set my Bible and journal out the night before. 

So, I do these practical things to keep me reaching for the right source of hope. But I also press into the body of Christ, when I am hopelessand borrow their hope.

Just a few weeks ago I texted a group of Christian women from my church, and said, “I’m struggling, I’m thinking all these thoughts which I know are not Christ-like. I’m feeling all these feelings which I don’t like. It’s coming out in these actions which are ugly. Will you pray for me?”

Kesha: Wow.

Erin: So, I borrowed their hope. 

Kesha: Your transparency on that gives hope, because we all struggle with those same feelings and discouragements and sinful things and sinful thinking. Just to be able to lean onto the body of Christ, your local church family, is one practical way that we can cling to hope and encourage one another. So thank you so much for that. 

You’ve been saturating yourself in the book of Revelation. So in your study of Revelation 21, what have you learned specifically about suffering and hope?

Erin: Well, that it’s temporary. All suffering is temporary. 

Kesha: That’s good news. 

Erin: That’s such good news. We want that to be true, but it’s deeper than that. We want our moment of suffering to be temporary. Whatever we’re going through, the question on most of our hearts is, When is this going to end?

Kesha: Right.

Erin: And if we’re not careful, we’ll put our hope in that. We’ll put our hope in when the cancer is gone, then that means the suffering is over; or when my marriage is better, that means the suffering is over, or whatever, fill in the blank. 

However, I’ve found there is just probably another pocket of suffering around the corner. Revelation 21 does say that suffering is temporary, but it gives us a longer view, meaning suffering is temporary in that it’s confined to when we’re here on earth. It will end, but it’s not going to end for a while. But then Revelation 21 gives us this fire hose of ultimate hope that there is a time, and there is a place, there’s a city coming, the New Jerusalem. And in that city, which Hebrews tells us the architect is God of that city, there’s no crying. There’s no pain. There’s no death. There’s no sorrow. So suffering is like expired milk, it’s going to be thrown out, and it’s going to be replaced with something better.

For me, the shift has been to look toward ultimate hope instead. It’s so good for us to pray for God to intervene here. He wants us to do that. 

Kesha: Right.

Erin: But my hope is beyond Him fixing whatever is on my prayer list today and is in the promise of what is to come. That's a really steady hope that I can live for, that I can stand on.

Kesha: Amen. It’s amazing that you mentioned “steady hope.” I want us to take this brief moment to encourage the listeners of the podcast. Based on your study of Revelation 21, complete the following sentence, “Our ultimate hope as Christians is . . .”

Erin: Well, Jesus. It’s all Him. Because of all that He has already done for us, we have great hope. But what’s remarkable to me is, everything He’s done for us, coming to earth as a baby, Emmanuel, which is remarkable.

Kesha: Right.

Erin: Dying that horrible death on the cross, remarkable. Staying the tomb for three days, rising from the dead, all of that was just so that He could give us this future hope.

Kesha: Future hope, yes. 

Erin: Future hope. That wasn’t even the good stuff. I mean, that was the good stuff, but the best gifts that Jesus has for us are yet to come. And so, we get it a little mixed up, our hope is not even in what Jesus can for me right now. It’s not even that Jesus loves me, though He does. 

Kesha: Right.

Erin: But my ultimate hope is that when He said, “It is finished,” He meant it’s finished. He’s going to give us a reality free from all this pain. So, our hope’s in Him. 

Kesha: Is there hope for a broken culture? On the next episode of The Deep Well, Erin will remind us that a new city is coming.

The Deep Well with Erin Davis is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Teachers

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.