The above sentence is not the official motto of the United States Postal Service. Yes, it does appear on the James A. Farley Building—the New York City Post Office—in Manhattan. But the line came from Book 8 of The Persian Wars by the Greek historian Herodotus. The Persians had created something similar to our Pony Express and it was said that a message could go from one side of the empire to the other—roughly India to Greece and Egypt—in a week's time. The architect for the New York Post Office Building was the son of a Greek scholar. He read Greek just for fun, and he was the one who decided to have the line placed on that particular post office.
Still, it was the line I thought of that December of 1989 when we had ice on the roads and an inch of sticking snow on the ground—here in north Florida! That particular Saturday we tromped through the white stuff to the highway where our mailboxes were all lined up to save the letter carrier some time. While we waited, my three guys got a kick out of running down the road then stopping and sliding as much as ten or fifteen feet on the icy patch in the middle of it. It was a cold, gray day, never rising above 30 as I recall and the sun never peeking through for an instant. Our lightweight jackets, by Northern standards, barely kept us warm. Finally we gave up and went back home, freezing feet, runny red noses, chapped hands and all. The mail never did run that day. So much for "Neither snow…"
As I was doing all this research on the "motto," I came across another interesting tidbit. During the Cold War of the 80s, the public was understandably worried. People believed that nuclear war would destroy the world as we know it, that it was not survivable at all. They were probably correct, but the administration of the time did their best to dispel that idea.
Nuclear war is not nearly as devastating as Americans have been led to believe, said Thomas K Jones, Deputy-Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. To that end, the Federal Civil Defense Administration began their campaign to show people how to survive the Bomb. They created scenarios for ways they would care for "all the survivors," tacitly promising that there would be a great many of them. Two of their more ridiculous promises were:
1) Nuclear war would not prevent checks from clearing banks—including those drawn on destroyed banks—or their credit cards from being accepted.
And, the one we are most interested in,
2) Postal employees would be moved to remote areas in order to maintain service. They would have in reserve millions of emergency change-of-address forms, including a line to complete if the recipient were dead. Imagine that.
Most people who are aware of this inanity know it like this: On July 12, 1983, FEMA promised that survivors of a nuclear war would still get their mail! (If you want to read more on this, look up "Thinking the Unthinkable" by Professor Jon Timothy Kelly, Ph. D., West Valley College. The original paper should pop up.)
Talk about outrageous promises. But understand this, that is exactly what many of your friends and neighbors think about you and your faith in God's promises. What they do not understand, and simply will not see, is all the evidence we have of God keeping His promises for millennia.
Abraham waited twenty-five years before he began to see even a shadow of the promises God had made come true in the birth of Isaac. His descendants waited another 430 years before they received the land. The Jewish nation waited another millennium and a half for the Messiah, and are waiting still, while we enjoy being in his kingdom and under his watchful care and leadership.
Then there are the many instances of fulfilled prophecy. Nation after nation came and went as God said they would, again and again. "The most High rules in the kingdoms of men," Daniel says four times, and then proves it.
But those are only the big promises. God makes us promises every day—and keeps them. If we don't see them, we simply do not want to.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1Cor 10:13)
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name…Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1Pet 4:16-19)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2Cor 12:9-10)
I could keep going, but do you know what the problem is? We don't like the things these promises imply. In order to receive these promises we have to suffer for His name's sake. We must be tempted, we must endure hardships, we must be content with a life that may not be what we had imagined, especially in this wealthy country. We must be willing to be persecuted. We must face tragedies. That is when we see His promises come true.
I no longer have absolute faith in the postal system—I saw it fail that December of 89. But I have never seen my God fail me in a lifetime of ups and downs, good and bad, happiness and sorrow. My neighbors have sometimes failed me. My government has failed me. Even my brethren have failed me. But never God.
Maturity has helped me see that. A growth in spirituality has made it easier. Knowledge of the Word has been the greatest help. You will never understand His help, nor will you even recognize it, until you learn about Him and how He works, until you become more like Him and see things as He does—not in a carnal way, but in a spiritual way.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” (Heb 10:36-38)
God has yet more promises waiting for you. Nothing will stop Him from delivering them.
In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began (Titus 1:2)