Last night I was talking to God and saying that I felt like a total failure. That everything I had done in my life had been a failure. That I had failed my kids especially. Then this morning this verse was in my daily devotional.
No one whose hope is in (who waits, looks for, hopes, expects, is bound together with) you will ever be put to shame (be put to shame, be ashamed, be disappointed) … Psalm 25:3
That word translated “put to shame” is buwsh. The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament says this about the word:
The primary meaning of this root is “to fall into disgrace, normally through failure, either of self or of an object of trust.” TDOT, II, pp. 50-59 [emphasis mine]
God is always there with us, isn’t he? So this verse says that, as long as my hope is in Him, I will never fall into disgrace or be shamed because of my failures.
And then another verse came to me from a fellow blogger, and then again in a novel I was reading, and then again on a bookmark left in a used book by a former owner:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (astheneia).” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Guess what astheneia means?
1) want of strength, weakness, infirmity
1a) of the body
1a1) its native weakness and frailty
1a2) feebleness of health or sickness
1b) of the soul
1b1) want of strength and capacity requisite
1b1a) to understand a thing
1b1b) to do things great and glorious
1b1c) to restrain corrupt desires
1b1d) to bear trials and troubles
At that I was completely undone because God knows me. Want of strength to do things great and glorious. Want of strength to be the Wonderful One. That has always been a weakness of mine – thinking I have to do wonderful exploits, that I have to be the Savior of the Word. And I am learning that this trying to wrest control from God and be the wonderful one always ends in failure.
But God (but God!) is the One who has the strength and capacity requisite to do the great and glorious things. And even more wonderful, God lets me know that his power is made perfect in my failures. He is the One who turns failures into victories, he is “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17).
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not (that lack, that never, that cannot, that are nothing, that are without)—to nullify the things that are … 1 Corinthians 1:28
He chose and loves the failures of the world – the weak and frail ones, the ones who lack, who cannot, the nothings, without the capacity to do great and glorious things. What God is saying is that even when it seems like your failures have ruined your life and you have let everyone down – God and your family and your friends – his grace is sufficient. Give him your failures. Keep waiting, looking for, hoping, expecting, keep being bound together with the One who loves you more.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
And His name will be called Wonderful … Isaiah 9:6
Image by Jack Bair