"Redemption and Restoration"
My 7th grade Social Studies teacher Mr. Swilley posted a sign above the classroom clock, making an obvious point while raising a somber challenge:
"Time Passes. Will you?"
Yes, I passed, and even made an A in the class (I always enjoyed history. But don't ask about algebra). Time does pass, and seems to move faster the older we get. Moreover, as the years go by, we may bemoan opportunities that seemed to pass us by, and which will not return. Or we remember tests of life in which we didn't fare well. Nobody makes A's in everything, and we all can look back on failures, missed chances, and those times in which the obvious path of truth, benefit, and God's will lay before us. But we took the other path. Hope may seem lost, and much time and opportunity wasted.
"O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul. Thou hast redeemed my life!" (Lamentations 3:58).
We do well to be rightly repentant for sins, neglect, and detours from the path of truth and righteousness. We must also seek the Lord's forgiveness, cleansing and restoration through His provision of the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon this basis, we must then arise from the altar of contrition to overcome the temptation to paralyzing regret. We do God and ourselves no favors by wallowing in the slough of despond regarding past failures. Moreover, we can and must have hope in the Lord our redeemer. Recall the thief on the cross who became a saint in the last moments of his life though the gracious mercy of the Lord Jesus. The man wasted 99.9% of his earthly lifetime. Crying out to the Savior with his dying breaths, however, not only saved his soul. His experience also became the basis through which multitudes of others who failed many of life's tests nevertheless received the saving grace of the Lord Jesus when all seemed lost. The saint on the cross found redemption from a wasted life, and restoration unto an eternity of worship. Doubtless no other heart more joyfully and enthusiastically cries with the Psalmist, "I will praise Thee forever!" (Psalm 52:9).
We cannot change the past. We can, however, believe in the present that the Lord Jesus pleads our cause and redeems our lives as we trust and submit to Him. How He will do this is His prerogative. God's wisdom finds many ways to use both the successes and failures of yesterday to serve as threads He weaves into the tapestry of glorifying Christ in us today and forever. He would not have us to be paralyzed by the tests we failed. He would rather have us affirm with Job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth!" (Job 19:25). He does, and "He ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25). Our Lord is that gracious and merciful, and that willing to administer His redemptive capacity in us no less than in a thief dying on a cross, and a Job suffering great calamity.
"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Weekly Memory Verse
Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)