Even My Mistakes

Judges 14:4, “However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines.

Mistakes. Failures. Shortcomings. Weaknesses. Limitations. We all have them. All of us. We all fail. We all fall. We all sin. None of us are perfect. Never have been. Never will be. It’s a part of our sinful nature. Now, that doesn’t give us a license for sin. Yes, you’re right. God does understand our frail and finite humanity. But grace does not exempt us from responsible and godly living. Our choices matter. What we do, what we say, the way we seek to live our day-to-day lives has impact and importance. Through the Cross we are forgiven. Through His sacrifice we have been redeemed from the power of sin and restored to a right relationship with God. Now, at this very moment, I stand before His throne, not in the rags of my unrighteousness, but in the spotless robes of His righteousness. I am forgiven. I am free. But…

But, just like Samson, I still struggle with my fallen nature. I still make the wrong choices. The Pharisees in the crowd will hate this statement but I’m just going to be honest. Transparent. Vulnerable. I sometimes still do the wrong thing… even when I know it’s the wrong thing. That’s why it’s so hard for my the take the high road of moral superiority when it comes to the story of Samson. I might feel tempted to point the finger at his failures. I might feel vindicated by seeking to measure myself against him. But in the end it’s just an illusion. I’m really no better. Samson struggled with the truth. So do I. Samson trafficked in selfishness. So do I. Samson was prone to seasons of rebellion. Can’t say I don’t feel that same pulling. Pride. Lust. Anger. Hmmm…. still not seeing anything on his list of failures that wouldn’t also make my own top ten. If I am willing to be honest, the only real difference in our lives would be the supernatural feats of strength. Otherwise, I could be Samson. Heck, I’ll just say it. I am Samson.

And herein lies the beauty and hope of the grace of God. In spite of Samson’s obvious failings and flaws, God still worked both in and through his life. Take a look back at the beginning of chapter 14. In previous blogs we have already explored the Biblical mandates surrounding marriage in the OT culture. Bottom line? Samson was prohibited from marrying a woman from any of the Canaanite peoples. But Samson does just that. He heads off in pursuit of a marriage that God had clearly declared as forbidden. Even his parents see the error of his ways and try to talk some sense into their headstrong son. But Samson is determined. In his mind he didn’t care about God’s interests. Only one thing mattered to him. He wanted what he wanted. And he was going to do what he wanted. Didn’t matter what anyone else thought or said. Even if that Someone was God Himself.

And yet, in spite of his blatant rebellion, in spite of his willful disobedience, in spite of his outright sin, God still chose to work through Samson. Not sure about that? Look at verse 4 again. “However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines.” Let’s start by talking about what that doesn’t mean. God was not the catalyst behind Samson’s sinful choice. God was not the author of his evil decision. God does not and cannot tempt us with evil. It’s not a part of His nature (see James 1:13-15). Samson’s choice was wrong. Samson’s choice arose from his own ungodly desires. But God in His sovereignty and providential rule was going to use Samson’s sin to accomplish His divine purposes. In this specific case, God was going to use Samson’s weaknesses as a springboard to further His plan for Samson’s life. Samson’s “wrong” was about to become a “right” in the hands of God.

Remember Romans 8:28? “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” What does it mean when God says, “…all things…“? Is there anything that would fall outside the realm of all? Think about it. God causes ALL things to work together for good. Let me say it one more time just to make sure we all get the point. ALL THINGS. That includes my failures, my weaknesses, my limitations, my mistakes, and yes, even my sin. Again, it doesn’t mean we should follow Samson’s example. The God of grace still has an expectation for each of us. We are called to live a holy life, a life set apart wholly and solely unto God. But it does mean that in the hands of an all-powerful God, even my mistakes can be used to further His purposes. He does indeed cause all things to work together for the good.

Remember that the next time you fail. Yes, it might feel like it but it’s really not the end of the world. Life goes on. And you can go on as well. Get up. Go to God. Confess your sin. Give it to Him. And get moving forward again. No, you can’t go back and change what you did. No, there is no rewind button in life. But God can work it together for good. He did it for Samson. And He will do it for us. Because in the hands of our God all things serve His purposes. Even our mistakes.