Our society, including our Christian society it seems, puts a premium on those who have done it right: who have waited to have sex until marriage, who have never failed on their vows after marriage, who have avoided debt, etc. There is surely plenty more, but those are among the items given special attention. And the point here is not to pooh-pooh those things at all. In fact they are good. Especially serious is to keep the covenant we have made with our spouse in marriage. But what about those of us who have failed in one of these important areas? What is left for us?
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you…”
Scripture indicates that God indeed can take care of those who have failed (here, God’s covenant people), that it is in God’s heart to do so (note the context). When I see shining examples of those who have done so well, I wonder what message that sends to most everyone else, who in one way or another have failed, and are living with some of the consequences of that failure.
Not that people should think they need to fail to get in on God’s redemptive work. Indeed we are all sinners, so in that sense we all fail and in ourselves are failures. We are all on the same level at the cross. There is value in avoiding fornication, adultery, greed, or simply lack of faith, etc. In fact great value. But for those of us who have failed in one or more areas like these there is a certain hope. God somehow can work even in these things for good, and in fact, does so in the lives of those who are in Jesus. So it’s up to us to simply trust God and his word, and live accordingly.
God’s goodness wins out and prevails in the end. Do we believe that? Or must we go on living as if everything, indeed anything depends on us? Yes, we have our responsibility before God and people, in faith which works or expresses itself in love. We need to hold on to this witness, not only for us, but for the many in the world who need this witness. It is a witness best seen in living it out, even more than the before and after picture. In seeing God mend the fractures over time in ways we may never have imagined. Perhaps not resolving everything according to what the world would consider resolution. And with some things sadly remaining, at least for all appearances. But God at work in and through Jesus to redeem us and everything in his love and for his glory, in and through Jesus. We are in this in Jesus together for the world.