August 14, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Hope After Failure

Brother-Aaron-236x300A friend of mind told a story from his childhood about his mother placing some freshly baked cookies on a towel on the kitchen table to cool.

He walked up to the table, and as only a child would do, reached up to grab a cookie with one hand while simultaneously covering his eyes with his other hand.

His logic was that if he couldn’t see his momma – she couldn’t see him. Wrong!

Kudzu is nice looking greenery. However, it’s a stone-cold killer. It has been truthfully said that, “It decorates the ruin it makes.” It kills whatever plant it comes in contact with by preventing it from seeing the sunlight it needs to live.

Abraham Lincoln told about seeing a squirrel run up a grand, majestic old tree and into a hole. Upon investigation of the tree he discovered that it was hollow from top to bottom, with only a small rim of healthy wood sustaining the weight and life of the tree.

Seeing as the tree was very close to the farmhouse, this presented him with quite a quandary. If he cut the tree, the huge branches might hit and destroy the house. If he did nothing, a big gust of wind may cause the same. Lincoln thought to himself: I WISH I HAD NEVER SEEN THAT SQUIRREL!

Life is filled with people who: 1) Have their hand over their eyes believing that if they can’t see God – then He can’t see them reaching for and dabbling in the sin that does so easily beset them. 2) Have allowed themselves to be surrounded by something, somebody, or circumstances that seem beautiful, that in essence, are merely decorating what they are destroying by separating them from the Light of God they so desperately need to sustain their life. 3) Are facing life’s quandaries. They don’t know what to do, don’t have an answer, don’t have a plan, and are simply wishing they had never seen that proverbial squirrel.

You know the Biblical story of Peter and how he failed God miserably. When Jesus encounters him afterward, He doesn’t scold or berate him for his great failure.

He doesn’t tell him that if he will “promise to never ever fail Him again” – He would forgive him. No! He just asked Peter three times if he really loved Him.

Now, I’m paraphrasing, but the conversation could have gone something like this: “Peter, I’m about to go back to heaven, but before I go, I want to know if you really love me!”

And when he assured him that he did, even after his great failure, Jesus trusted him with a new assignment: “Feed my sheep!” Then, metaphorically speaking, on the Day of Pentecost, Jesus put His hand on Peter’s shoulder and said, “I need an evangelist! Hitch-up your preaching britches boy. You’re on! Because of this, you and I can have hope after our failures!

In life, both you and I will encounter people who fail. We’ve seen them with their hand over their eyes believing that God can’t see them dabbling in their sin. We’ve seen them decorate themselves with the very sin that is destroying them.

And we’ve encountered multitudes who wish they had never seen that squirrel! My Encouraging Word to you today is simply this: As we encounter them, regardless of whatever else we may give them – we must give them hope! Why? Because that’s what Jesus does!

In our times of greatest failure, He gives us hope. And when we think we’ve made ourselves useless to Him, He gives us a new assignment and uses us in ways we never dreamed possible! Hallelujah! There is hope after failure!

 

Brother Aaron

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