One of the odious scents of the Fall is our poor decision making. Let’s admit it: we do dumb things. We say, think and do things that we should not do. To make matter’s worse we get the lingering scent of our dumb decisions in our nostrils. This is called regret. Can you imagine a world without such a stench of failure?
Among the things that strike me as so compelling about the Bible is the fact that it does not shrink from this truth. From Genesis to Revelation people, often the “heroes” of the book are shown to be misfits who seem to do their very best to jack everything up. Think of the patriarchs. Abraham feared man and lied. Isaac did the same. Jacob was deceptive and manipulative. The sons of Jacob sold their brother into slavery after faking his death and breaking their father’s heart. David was an adulterer, lier, and complicit in murder. The disciples were cowards. Judas betrayed Jesus. We could go on and on. The bottom line: the is full of people doing dumb things.
But you know what is even more striking about this? God still works through and in spite of these people. In other words, people doing dumb things cannot derail God from doing great things!
We know about all of the examples listed above because they have something to do with the bringing about of God’s plan of redemption. God brings about his plan amid our messes. It’s like we burn down the house and yet God still makes the flower grow amid the ashes.
This is good news for those of us who have realized that we have the tendency to do or say something foolish. As I’ve heard Tim Keller say before, “You can’t muck up your life.” How liberating is this? This frees us from the paralyzing fear that we might do or say something that causes the entire plan to go up in smoke. We know that if we burn down the house then God will use it for good and the furtherance of his purposes. This frees us from the fear and liberates us to live with courageous, humble trust in God. We can’t shut down his sovereignty and neither can we fully understand his wisdom. We may not always know the ultimate answer to the “why” question, but we always know the truth of the “what” question. God will most certainly use our missteps to further his plan—this for our good and his glory.