Romans 11:32 “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.”
I love all the Romans 11 beauty of God’s plan in bringing mercy to Israel and the Gentiles through their very own disobedience, but when I read through it this time this verse caught my heart by surprise and wrapped big arms around it.
Because when you’ve seen the place of knowing the extent of a fail you’ve made, and your fail seems to have brought a world of trouble, its easy to fear that there’s no going back. There’s no seeing the world as good as it used to be again.
And it takes me back to church Sunday and the story of Achan in Joshua 7, and Achan and his family members were each stoned for Achan’s sin. It was the story that stirred up those same emotions, those same thoughts of fear. And I asked, how can it be anything but that place – no going back, no making things the way they used to be. And I see the place where he was stoned, stoned at the Valley of Achor, and that name stirs up something, thoughts of hope, but why? Because there the name is again in Hosea, the Valley of Achor.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” (Hos. 2:14-15) And Achor means trouble, and that valley of trouble was a door, like an opportunity, for hope. And at the valley of trouble in Joshua the Lord turned from his burning anger. (Josh 7:26) And it was Israel taking the steps through the trouble that happened in that valley that opened the door for them to see new mercies from God and a new hope for the future. And instead of being the place of no more, the door was open to see the place of more beautiful.
Hosea and Gomer were there too, the real-life play of God’s relationship to His people. And Gomer’s valley of trouble was her unfaithfulness to her husband and that itself became her door of hope. And after all her unfaithfulness, she was given the joy of not just seeing someone who wanted to be her husband. She could look at him and see a man who Loved her even though she had proven above and beyond that she was so undeserving of his Love. She could look at a man whose Love was determined to stand through the storms of her sin. She could look at a God who Loved her so much that He hedged up the paths that she thought were satisfaction (Hos. 2:6) and brought her to the place where she could see the door of hope. (Hos. 2:14-15) It was God who brought her through the door so she could know the greatness of this mercy that she had never seen in this way, so she could know greater depth in the beauty of belonging.
The place after the fail doesn’t have to be the place of no more’s. Getting up from the fail does mean it will be different, but it can be different in a way that’s so much better. It’s an opportunity to see the place of saying, I’ve never seen it all so beautiful before. Not that we had never failed before, but that sometimes it takes harder falls for us to deeply know that we have failed and how much we truly stand in need of mercy. “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” We can never receive the beauty of mercy without going through the valley of failing. Each time God allows us to fail, He is giving us a grace, a gift that’s undeserved, because the fail itself was a door to see Love in a whole new way.
Thank you for reading today. I’d love for you to give Kate a visit at the Five-minute Friday community: http://katemotaung.com/2015/02/12/five-minute-friday-when/