Promises


Based on a true story
Be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you (D&C 61:36).

Zoey dashed to the door the moment she heard the bus stop. Flinging the door open, she raced down the driveway.

“Zach! Zach!” she called. “I kept my promise. I didn’t go into your room once after I got home from kindergarten.”

“Good job!” Zach said, patting Zoey on the back.

“Now can I have the piece of gum that you promised me?”

Zach stopped. He stuck his hand into his pocket, but it was empty. “I’m sorry, Zoey. I forgot and traded it to David for a cupcake.”

“Oh.” Zoey turned and walked slowly back up the driveway. She found Mom in the kitchen, getting out flour, sugar, and salt. Zoey’s face brightened. “Is it time to bake the cookies you promised I could help you make after I got my toys picked up?”

“I’m sorry, Zoey. I forgot that I need to bake cinnamon rolls for a meeting at school tonight.”

“Oh.” Zoey trudged into the living room, flopped onto the couch, and thumbed through the Friend magazine that had just arrived. When she saw a picture of Jesus Christ surrounded by little children, she smiled, remembering how much Jesus loves little children.

The phone rang, and she jumped up to answer it. Hearing who it was, she chirped, “Dad, guess what? I told everyone at school today about the bike ride you and Zach and I are going on tonight. What time will you be home?”

Zoey’s shoulders drooped. “But, Dad, you promised we could go if we helped you weed the garden last night.” She listened as Dad explained. “Oh.” Zoey hung up the phone. Tears spilled out onto her cheeks.

“Who was on the phone?” Mom asked as she came into the living room.

“Dad.” Zoey sniffled. “He said you need to get a baby-sitter for tonight. He forgot he has to work late.”

Mom took Zoey’s hand and gently sat her on the couch beside her. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Nobody keeps their promises!” Zoey blurted out. “I stayed out of Zach’s room, but he traded the piece of gum he promised me. I cleaned my room, but you baked cinnamon rolls instead of cookies.” Zoey wiped her tears with the back of her hand. “And Zach and I helped weed the garden, but Dad can’t take us on the bike ride, after all. I’m never going to believe anyone’s promises again.”

Mom hugged Zoey a long time. Then she picked up the Friend Zoey had been looking at. “Zoey, there is Someone who never breaks a promise.”

Zoey wiped her eyes. “Who?”

“Jesus.” Mom pointed to the picture of Jesus and the children. “In two years, you’ll turn eight and be baptized. When we’re baptized, Jesus promises us the gift of the Holy Ghost, membership in His church, and forgiveness for our sins. Do you know what we promise Him?”

“To be good?”

“That’s right,” Mom said. “We promise to obey His commandments and to take His name upon us. That means we’ll act like Jesus Christ—like He would want us to act. And we also promise to always remember Him.”

“I know why He asks that,” Zoey said firmly. “You can’t keep promises if you forget what you promised.”

“That’s right. One reason we have the sacrament every week is to help us remember our promises.”

“But how does Jesus remember His promises?”

“Let me read you something very special that Jesus said.” Mom reached for the scriptures on the table, turned to 1 Nephi 21:15–16 [1 Ne. 21:15–16], and read, “Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”

Closing the book, Mom asked, “Do you know what that means, Zoey?”

Zoey closed her eyes and remembered the pictures she’d seen of Jesus on the cross. “Does it mean Jesus remembers because of the scars from the nails in His hands when He was killed?”

Mom nodded. “Jesus never forgets His promises.”

“Wow! That means I can always believe Jesus’ promises. It makes me want to work extra hard to keep my promises to Him.”

Mom gave Zoey another hug. “We all need to work extra hard at keeping our promises, both to Jesus Christ and to each other. Will you give Zach, Daddy, and me another chance to keep ours?”

“OK.” Zoey smiled. Then shaking her finger at Mom, she added, “But don’t forget that with promises, it’s important to remember.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young