"'...but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name'" (Nehemiah 1:9).
One night, at least an hour or so of putting all three of my children down to bed, I sat down in my recliner, picked up guitar, and began to play. No sooner had I started, my four year old little princess comes out of her room and into the living room, speaking very matter-of-factly, trying hard to be respectful, while holding back her tears. "Daddy," she began, "...you said you would play your guitar for us tonight and you forgot. You promised." She was right. I had. The hour didn't lend itself to fulfilling that, but my daughter had reminded me of a promise that I had made, and I can assure you the next night I wasted no time in fulfilling that promise!
Nehemiah was like the child, running to his Father, reminding Him of a promise. Israel had been exiled, and Nehemiah, who now had been elevated to service for the king, was moved to brokenness over the condition of exiles who had returned and the condition of the walls and the city. He went to God in prayer. He reminded God what He'd said to Moses. What an awesome reminder of the love of God. Nehemiah wasn't giving up hope on his people or his nation. His heart broke and it motivated him to cry out to God, and to remind Him of the promises He had spoken. Nehemiah's heart was not to manipulate or to use God's words against Him, but, in faith, calming and proclaiming those promises on behalf of a people for whom he was crying out.
Personally, I think of the years of praying for my dad and for one of my sisters, praying Scriptural promises back to God, believing that He would restore the relationship between my dad and me, and between my sister and Himself. My heart was broken and I was determined not to give up. And, I did get to see both restorations take place. But, I am challenged to continue to cry out to God for what continues to break His heart - and to not give up, but to pray with real faith that truly expects to see Him answer.
Don't give up. God hasn't given up on you. He is true to His Word, though His timing supersedes our own. What He said He will do, He will do. And, when He doesn't come through the way you hoped or thought He would, He will show you, in His timing, that His way is far better than anything you could have ever come up with on your own. He loves you and is with you no matter what. Why? Because...a promise is a promise.