I like video games. The first console I owned was the NES, and since then I have pretty much owned every console worth owning. Nowadays, I do not get much time to play video games, but I still enjoy the odd foray.
In the world of video games, you can always choose to “load most recent save” when an undesired event happens. Maybe you die in the game, the game crashes, or you make a game decision that you are unhappy with. In such cases, you can always “load most recent save” and go back to a time before the event happened. Unfortunately, life is not like that. You cannot go back to a time before you made that wrong decision, which you are now facing the consequences for.
In some ways, I think my generation onwards has a “load most recent save” mentality. We tend to believe that our decisions do not carry consequences. However, all of our choices carry consequences. Some consequences are good, and some are bad. Some consequences we experience straight away, while others may go years undetected.
No “Load Most Recent Save” Option
The Bible tells the story of the fall of the city of Jericho and how the Israelites put it to the torch. The Israelite leader, Joshua, looked upon the burning rubble and cursed the remains. He said, “May the curse of the LORD fall on anyone who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn son, he will lay its foundation. At the cost of his youngest son, he will set up its gates.” (Joshua 6.26, NLT)
Five-hundred years passed by and a man called Hiel came and began rebuilding the city (1 Kings 16.34). Did Hiel know about the curse? Perhaps he did. Did he believe in its power? Maybe he did not, but the fact is his oldest son died while they laid the foundations. Perhaps he mysteriously fell ill or had an accident on the building site. I imagine the old folks and the construction workers murmured among themselves, like in a Scooby Doo cartoon, that the curse of Joshua has come back to haunt them.
What was Hiel to do, quit construction? He had come this far, how could they stop now? Despite what people said about the curse he had to be firm in his decision. “We continue our work.”
“You’re going to continue building!” Hiel’s second son, Segub, exclaimed. Cannot his father hear what the people are saying about the fulfillment of Joshua’s curse? “Does this project mean that much to you that you’re willing to pay for it with my blood too?”
Hiel remained resolute in his decision despite his son’s pleas. He had made his decision and there was no pulling out now. Perhaps the voice of his father reverberated in his mind, “You’ve made your bed. Now you’ll have to lie in it.”
The building project continued. All hands worked hard to meet deadlines, stay on budget, and keep the stakeholders happy. Through time the sounds of construction and the satisfaction of a job well-done silenced the murmurs of Joshua’s curse. Whenever the workers mentioned the untimely death of Hiel’s son, Abiram, they usually suffixed it with, “coincidences happen.”
Eventually, the day came to begin erecting the gates. Nobody mentioned it, but the curse is on everybody’s minds. They all feasted on the anticipation of the macabre. Will it happen or will it not?
All eyes are on Segub. Everyone knows how long the rebuilding of the gates was scheduled for, and each day was a countdown. Finally, Segub’s life comes to an untimely end. The Bible does not record how and in what way, but Segub died before they finished erecting the gates.
For Heil there is no “load most recent save.” He reaped the consequences of his decisions. Unfortunately, it was at the cost of those he loved dearest.
You could ask, why did he not pay attention to the curse? Why didn’t he stop after the first death? Could he not have sent his sons away? Why didn’t his wife or other loved ones stop him? There are a million questions you could ask, but that is the thing with consequences, by the time you come to ask questions it is usually too late. It is then you learn there is no “load most recent save” option.
God Will Fix Things for Your Good
As much a disappointment as it may be not having a “load most recent save” option in your life, the fact is that Christians do not need one. Christians sometimes say that the Lord will give you the years the locust has taken away (Joel 22.25-17). This is a true statement. God can cram into two years of your life progress which would typically take ten years to achieve. He has a way of redeeming all your mistakes and life experiences and forming them together for your good and his will (Rm 8.28).
God Always Recovers Your Loss
Some astute readers will recognize that some things in life cannot be resolved this side of eternity. Job’s story is one instance of this. His life took a terrible turn of events. His ten children died, he lost all his possessions, and his health failed (Job 1). At the end of the story, God abundantly blessed him with more children, material wealth, and good health (Job 42.12-13). Despite God’s blessing, the fact is that ten of his children had died. Although God gave Job the years the locust took away, Job still had to live with his children’s absence. I wonder if he ever reviled his current blessing because of his past lost? I wonder if he would have gladly given all his possessions away for an extra few moments with his deceased children?
There are some things in life that will not be resolved this side of eternity, but God will assuage them with his blessing. God will bless you in this life to counter your loss and work all things together for your good because he loves you. He forms all your life’s experiences into a rich tapestry of grace woven by the threads of his presence.
The Promise of Eternity
There is always eternity for those life experiences where God’s blessing does not completely fill in the loss. In eternity God promises us that he will physically dwell with us in a way that we currently do not experience through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In eternity, he promises that he will make all things new. The Book of Revelation says,
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
(Rev 21.3-5, NIV)
I would like you to take away three things from this post.
- God has a way of taking your mistakes, turning them into his will for your life, and working them together for your good.
- God blesses you beyond your loss.
- On those rare occasions where God’s blessing does not fill the emptiness left by the loss, there is still the eternal hope of when he will physically come, dwell with us, and make everything new.