The Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air… Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
(Isaiah 51:3, 52:2)
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! (Ephesians 5:8)
Relate: What do Moses, David, and Paul all have in common? If you guessed that they are all murderers, congratulations, you are right! Poor Peter, this is one list he wasn’t able to manage to get added to. He really did try, but he couldn’t manage to get it right. When he swung that sword to cut off some poor guy’s head, all he managed to do is temporarily displace an ear. No worries, though. Jesus put it back on.
As bad as these four “heroes of the faith” are, they are not the exception to the rule. You know Joseph? He did jail time. His dad Jacob was a thief. Jesus used another thief as a treasurer during his entire ministry career. Another one of His disciples was a terrorist. Almost every thing God did through Sampson only occurred because the thug was doing the wrong thing (or doing the wrong person) at the wrong place and the wrong time. The prophet Elisha once threw a temper tantrum when a group of kids started making fun of his bald head. He should have been proud of his bald head. I’m proud of my bald head. If you’re not familiar with the story, and what happened when he called down curses on those kids, you are in luck. Somebody managed to catch the whole thing on video. Watch this:
React: We are all failures. Every one of us should be disqualified for heaven and disqualified to be used by God. That’s why His grace is so amazing. As bad as I have been, as much as I have failed, I’m not a murderer so I have a leg up on David, Paul, and Moses. Yet those three men we today regard as some of the greatest men in the Bible. Paul doesn’t just own up to the fact he was a failure, he uses it. If you were to sum up his gospel presentation in ten words, it would be: “Christ died to save sinners of which I’m the worst.”
I am not proud of my failures, but I am amazed at how God has used them to change who I am today. He has taken my pitfalls and turned them into platforms. I now have an empathy and a compassion for those who have similar struggles. In the same way a recovered alcoholic is best able to deal with recovering alcoholics. An abuse survivor is best able to work with those in abusive situations. Where have you failed? What are your pitfalls? God wants to use them as opportunities to spread His amazing grace around to those that need it most.
God, I am so grateful for Your amazing grace. I am so undeserving of Your mercy. I have failed. I have sinned. What is worse, I keep on sinning. I want to follow You but as I walk this road I keep on tripping. Dear God, I ask that every time I do let Your grace wash over me again. Don’t let me try to hide my failures in guilt and shame. Help me to be open and vulnerable to the world around me because they need to receive the grace that You have so richly lavished on me. Help me to turn my pitfalls into platforms.