Aren’t you glad God doesn’t give up on us when we stumble?
At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona Derek Redmond tore his hamstring in the 400 metres semi-final but continued limping along, until his father burst out of the stands and helped him complete a full lap as the crowd cheered wildly. Then his father let go of him just before the finish line so Derek could cross on his own. If you want to get choked up, watch the video.
This reminds me of our heavenly Father. Psalm 37.24 says:
though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
In Joshua 7 Israel disobeyed God and suffered the consequences. After an amazing victory over Jericho, one man, Achan, disobeyed God, took forbidden spoil and the whole nation stumbled. They were hammered by a tiny city of Ai, whose total population was only 12,000. Though the offender was found out and punished, afterwards Israel was fearful and dismayed. Maybe they’d blown it for good this time.
But God wasn’t finished with them. Like Derek Redmond’s father, the Lord came alongside Israel again and helped them. He said to Joshua:
“Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land.” Joshua 8:1
God is the God of second chances. He doesn’t give up on us when we fail.
for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. PR 24.16
Can you imagine how discouraged Peter was after denying Christ 3 times? I love what the risen Jesus said to the women he appeared to at the tomb:
But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” MK 16.7
“AND Peter!” I can see Peter, sitting there, downcast, dejected, staring at the floor. The women come in. “We’ve seen the Lord! He told us to tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee. And Peter, he specifically mentioned YOU! He said ‘tell his disciples AND PETER’. Peter lifts his head. “Really? He mentioned me? Are you sure?” “Yes Peter! YOU!”
God doesn’t give up on us when we fail. He is the God of second chances. He has a purpose for our lives and though we fail, he won’t:
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. PS 138.8
The Lord WILL fulfill HIS purpose for those who believe in Jesus. Nothing is going to stop him, even our failures. Of course we don’t want to fail. And we certainly don’t want to take sin lightly. But when we do mess up, when need to remember 1 JN 1:9:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jesus will forgive us when we come running to him, because he paid for all our failures on the cross.
Jesus never failed. He perfectly obeyed his Father every single day of his life and didn’t sin once. Yet God the Father punished Jesus in our place, as if he had personally committed our sins. There’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because he was condemned for us. Have you fallen? Are you discouraged? Do you feel like giving up? Get up again! Do not fear and do not be dismayed. ARISE! Get up again. Get back in the race. Your Father is by your side, his arms around you, holding you up. He is the God of second chances, and he will fulfill his purpose for you.