I have a stack of essays I wrote and never sent to WORLD that is 6 inches tall. This does not include the pile I threw out years ago on the day I decided to organize my life, starting with my writings. These are columns that were either deemed sub-par, became outdated, or I simply forgot to use, and each one represents a day’s work.
How do I look at that tower of paper on my bookcase? The answer is that I can look at it as an unmitigated waste and more than a waste: It is hours I could have spent with my children, memories never made, and years I will never get back.
Or, I can look at that mountain of work as necessary practice essays, and remind myself that in every profession there are incalculable hours of attempts and failures, trial runs, perfectings, discarded hypotheses, broken pottery by the wheel, and crumpled papers around the rim of the wastebasket. Inventor Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
Our God is called the “God of hope.” If you are being hagridden by a sense of failure and regret, it is not God’s influence but instead it’s the whispers of the Evil one who trucks in despair and sends the raven to your door with songs of “Nevermore.” No matter what you have done in your life, no matter what your regrets, God is still the “God of hope” and Satan is still the one whose calling card is despair. While you are still in the land of the living, and your life has not been forfeited, you are invited to take the most hope-filled view of your situation. You are not so far gone that this blessing does not belong to you:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
It is Satan who wants you to excommunicate yourself from this promise and have you think it applies to everyone else but you. It is God who wants you to own it for yourself. There is never a point in your life, no matter what you have done, where God wants you to have a negative perspective of your life or a pessimistic assessment of your future. For all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26), who delights to restore the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25), and to call good things into existence from thin air (Romans 4:17).