Learning and Turning

How to Make the Most of Your Worst

man in black shirt and gray denim pants sitting on gray padded bench
Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

Had any good failures lately? Taken any wrong turns? Made any wrong-headed decisions?

If you haven’t, good on you, but if you have, welcome to the fellowship.

The fact is that every now and then ten out of ten of us will veer off course. It is just human nature. It’s part of being what C.S. Lewis called “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.” As the line from the classic hymn goes,

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” *

But thankfully, our transgressions do not take God by surprise. Nor do they jeopardize His bulldog-like love.

While our sins grieve His heart, they do not diminish His loyalty to us. When we blow it, God does not walk away. Rather, He comes after us even harder. At that point it may not feel like love, but it is. It may feel more like a kick in the seat of the pants, but it is still love, because the Bible assures us that “whom the Lord loves, He disciplines” (Hebrews 12:6).

This must have been what the psalmist was talking about when he wrote these words:

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”

-Psalm 119:67

Apparently, the ancient writer had been through one of those life-learning experiences that is all too familiar:

  1. I stubbornly do my own thing and disregard God.
  2. Life gets very uncomfortable and He gets my attention.
  3. I learn from it, make some adjustments, and reorient my life back to Him.

This is what is called the art of “learning and turning” and I am seeking to get better at it. Rather than repeatedly doing the same old things on a thoughtless loop, I am asking God to help me learn and grow through my losses. It is a slow process and a little bit painful, but I think we are making some progress.

To finish, let’s go back and agree with the next line from that classic hymn:

Here’s my life, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.


*Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson, 1757

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