Faith Is an Imperfect Journey Full of Successes and Messes
Just a week before her third birthday, my little girl finally agreed that big-girl undies and toilet paper were her thing. The first two days, she stayed dry and clean. With the exception of nighttime, the girl was done with diapers and rockin’ it.
After almost two strong weeks of potty training, the poop hit the fan . . . or the pee hit the floor. It was like suddenly the child had completely forgotten the purpose of a toilet.
This sudden shift threw everything off balance. I was late for school because I had to clean up pee. I was late to practice because I had to clean up pee. One evening, I cleaned up two poop accidents and scrubbed pee from the carpet all within three hours.
I was frustrated. I had been enjoying the bliss of this new diaper-free stage, only to be shocked back to reality. I had to remind myself: she is three, it’s normal to have accidents, this is how potty training works.
And then God smacked me upside the head and said, “This is how life works.” And as much as I hate to compare our walk with Christ to potty training, I’m going to do it.
There are times in our lives—maybe when we’re new Christians, maybe after a particularly moving concert, weekend retreat, or message at church—when we are rockin’ this whole personal relationship with the Lord thing. We are focused, intentional with our time, and feel like we’ve got it figured out.
Things at work get hard, conflicts flare up, life gets overwhelming, illness enters the picture, sin sneaks in—things pop up that interrupt the success we had been feeling. Suddenly, we find ourselves cleaning up messes and wondering if we had ever really been successful at all.
But that’s the reality of life with Jesus. Not once in the Bible did He promise uninterrupted success. Not once did he promise a life free of setbacks or temptation.
In fact, He promised the opposite. Speaking to His disciples before His death, He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, emphasis mine).
In this life, we will be rockin’ it one minute and making messes the next.
We will experience trouble. But trouble doesn’t last forever. It simply means we are experiencing the reality of a fallen world. But in this fallen world, we can find hope in the promises of the Lord.
“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
This promise gives us the strength to keep moving, to keep trying. When the mountains shake and devastation feels only a breath away, remember the Lord’s unfailing love for you. When the hills—the progress you’ve made—seem to be squashed into flat land, remember His covenant of peace. In this life, we will have trouble. And in this life, we can treasure the promises of the Lord.
Thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You for loving me at my best and my worst. Lord, help me not to get discouraged when I make mistakes but instead turn toward You and Your unconditional love.
In Jesus' Name, Amen