I’be been reading in the book of Acts.
This account of the early Church provides us 21st century readers a comfortable opportunity to analyze and see the big picture of God’s dealings.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to read our own story and recognize how God—in spite of our lack of faith, or because of it—is operating to accomplish His plan?
Bruce and I sometimes wonder about decisions we’ve made in the past:
- Should we have taken the job in New York?
- Why didn’t we buy a used car instead of that brand new car that turned out to be a lemon?
- What if I never picked up that gargantuan box, herniating the disks in my neck? Would I have continued on my path toward being a full-time singer?
- What if Bruce hadn’t accepted the telecom job in California right before the telecom bust of 2002?
I’m sure you have your own speculations. Most of them involve failures that you can’t forget.
When viewed from above, are my apparent failures something more?
Does my chronic pain, and my struggle to conquer bitterness, make me more compassionate? Did our job loss so many years ago help us to empathize with and counsel others? Did our marital spats help us recognize our own individual patterns of wrong-thinking, leading to a better marriage…and opportunities to teach younger couples what we’ve learned?
Now, I’m not suggesting a cavalier attitude to failure. It’s painful, and it ripples outward and affects those around us, too.
However, like the book of Acts, our own Christian redemptive stories should become part of the larger picture of unity within the Body.
It is within the Body that God has designed our successes and failures to interweave in a narrative of faith.
Think of Peter’s Denial of Christ. This man became the head of the early Church.
Think of Paul, the murderer, who became an Apostle.
Think of the persecuted Church who dispersed to other nations.
Failure becomes success when viewed from this perspective: In Christ, my story is His story. My failures belong to Him, not me. He can do with them what He wills.