Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "At Thy Feet Our God And Father"1 (Lyrics)
At the end of June, we had a wonderful opportunity to visit the countryside of Italy. We exulted in the sense of history as we visited ancient villages perched atop extinct volcanic buttes with steep cliffs and walls for protection from invasion. With family as interpreters, we were introduced to Italian traditions, culture, and language. Many stores closed at 1 p.m. and reopened at 4 p.m. or as late as 7 p.m. People were still sitting outside restaurants after midnight. One store would sell fresh bread, while another would sell meat, and another vegetables, all within walking distance. We never did see a supermarket, and everything was closed on Sunday.
In Italy, the price of fuel is high, so most cars are small, many use diesel, and almost all have standard transmissions. Having driven only automatic for years, standard was a challenge. Another challenge was the roundabouts! In the middle car of a three-car convoy, a couple of times, we found ourselves at a loss as to where the lead car had gone. Pre-occupied with avoiding traffic coming from the left and starting in the right gear, when it was clear to go, we would look back at the lead car, which had either disappeared or become indistinguishable from other black cars going off in every direction. Not being sure of which exit to take, we were forced to choose, and twice we chose wrongly.
What we noticed after taking one wrong turn was that we were on a very narrow, restrictive street that did not afford us the opportunity to stop or turn around in the heavy traffic. We were stuck going in the wrong direction, and we had no way of going back to try a different exit. Fortunately, the car following us was equipped with a GPS, and we were eventually able to be reunited with the lead car.
I considered how this event was such an analogy with life as we must live it. The choices that we make are so often ones that we must stick with — ones that change the direction of our life with no going back: the person that we marry, the career that we choose, the children who are born to us. In other cases, we make bad moral decisions, choosing enticing actions that look good, but prove to be destructive and disastrous. In all our decisions, failure is possible, and we may feel like idiots for the choices that we have made. However, unlike travelling those restrictive streets, we can always turn around and go in God's direction. We have a God for Whom all things are possible. When we turn to Him, He has promised that He can bring good even out of our failures.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (NKJV)
With such a promise, we must never continue to live feeling like failures.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You that You are able to use even our mess-ups for Your glory. Rather than living in the shadow of our mistakes, bring us out into the sunshine of Your love and forgiveness. In Christ's name, we ask it. Amen.