A woman named Louisa Fletcher Tarkington wrote these words:
I wish that there were some wonderful place
In the Land of Beginning Again;
Where all of our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never put on again.
Most of us would like the address of a place like that. Grief and guilt, shame and pain over our mistakes and stumbles cause so much regret and anguish. Broken hearts and lives do not heal easily.
Where is God in all this? He could say it was time to send a flood … wipe it all off and start again. The sin and evil in the world seems to warrant a drastic approach. But He promised He would never do the flood thing again. Instead He came up with another way to deal with drastic.
“Let’s send a child to do a man’s job.” No, He went further than that. “Let’s send a Savior to do a God’s job.”
This is the season of beginning again when we remember that God decided that we were worth saving. A Savior wouldn’t be needed if we could work our way out of the mess we’re in. He came to seek and to save people just like you and me.
He didn’t stop there. When Jesus ascended, He left behind a company of the redeemed. None was perfect, far from it. But they were saved, rescued and they could tell others how it could happen to them.
But He didn’t stop there. This company of the redeemed was given the task of living out grace in a broken world. They were called to create communities of safety and hope and help. They were supposed to remember where they turned when they were broken and point the way for others. They were supposed to remember that the only lasting answer to pain is the grace of God.
We cannot relive the past. We cannot change what has already happened. But in His grace and through the mercy of the redeemed, we can begin again. We can face the future with hope. God is not finished with you or me. He believes in us. He believes in the church. He will not give up.
O God, help us be the community of hope You had in mind!