Today we are waiting. Some wait in expectation and others wait in fear. Some have had little sleep over the last couple of days and others have slept like a baby. Some are too worried or nervous to eat and others of us have been snacking constantly. In a country that is so divided, we wait together! Here are a couple of things to think about as we wait.
Many of us have done a thing or two that we regret. And, given the chance to go back and redo, we would jump at the chance. But we should never regret one single day of our lives. Because the good days have brought happiness. The bad days have brought experience and growth. The worst days have taught us lessons in what not to do, or how to do something differently. And the best days have brought us memories to cherish.
The good news is our God is not only the God of second chances, but He is also the God of another chance. If we only have two chances, we will often use both of them up fairly quickly. Scripture is full of people who have done things they regret and have received another chance. Think Peter, Jonah, Samson, David, Abraham, and Joseph. Just as God is patient and forgiving of us, He asks that we do the same for others. Because we have been given another chance, we are expected to do the same for others. We read in Micah 7:18, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love.” While we are called to offer others another chance, and it gives them another chance to earn our trust, it does not mean we forget what experience has taught us.
Think of some of your good days, not the best ones but good days. Good days when nothing went haywire. Days when you caught a break in the morning rush hour and actually had time to stop for coffee before work. Good days when whatever pain you have been dealing with, wasn’t so bad. Days when everything just seemed to work right. That is a good day. The writer of Ecclesiastes 5:18 tells us, “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given to him; for this is his reward.” We have what we have because God loves us and wants to bless us. That does not include smooth sailing, but someone to walk with us when the waters are both smooth and rough. Those are good days.
All of us have had bad days. Days where we would like to go hide from the world. Days when we feel stupid, puny, or slow. We have had days that have been unmitigated disasters. We have caused bad days and been caught up in others bad days. Think about Peter, declaring he will always be right by Jesus side. Until he wasn’t. And when the rooster crowed the second time, Jesus looked right at Peter and he realized he had three times denied knowing Jesus. Think about Samson, finally confiding in his wife the cause of his strength, only to have her betray him. His hair is cut off, he is taken away, his eyes are gouged out and he is left in darkness. Or the guards who were charged with guarding the tomb where Jesus was laid. When the angel came to roll away the stone these guards were beyond terrified. Scripture tells us they became like dead men. How would they ever explain this and who would believe them?
But there are best days as well. Days of job promotions, new homes, graduations, confirmations, ordinations. For me it was July 10, 1993. That was the day I asked, and Barb said yes. Best days are days like Sarah giving birth to Isaac…something she never thought would happen. The same can be said for Rebekah, Rachel, and Elisabeth. No longer were they outcasts in society because they could not bear children. For the disciples, there were bad days and best days. Being called to follow Jesus must have ranked near the top of great things happening. But seeing Him hang on a cross would have been one of the worst. Jesus appearing in the upper room on the evening of the third day had to be one of the best days.
We have all had each one of these kind of days…and survived. We have grown. We have been pushed and stretched. We have celebrated and grieved. Jesus has been in the middle of it all. He is still in the middle of it all, even when it feels like He isn’t. But He doesn’t call us to understand. He calls us to trust. He doesn’t promise everything will make sense. He promises to be here…with us. This is what we have…and it is enough.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W