There are times in life when we make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can be really serious such as when driving and sometimes they can be relatively minor, such as forgetting to do something. Last Sunday, I made a mistake when I did something that I’d never done before, I misread the preachers list.
This meant that I arrived at the morning service fully prepared with a message on Genesis 2&3, including a children’s talk, only to find that I was scheduled to preach on Sunday evening from Isaiah. There is no excuse, the list had been emailed to me, it was very clear, I had simply misread it. The end result was a very busy Sunday afternoon which included some fervent prayer. Thankfully, though I had never previously spoken on the passage in question, it is one of the most famous passages in the Bible and one that I’d studied many times.
In the days that have followed, I’ve been thinking about the incident and the question that I keep asking is, ‘is God working through our mistakes?’ It probably goes without saying that in future I will be reading the preachers lists a lot more carefully and yet I felt blessed by studying Genesis, even if it blessed no one else. I have also learnt again the need to rely on the Lord rather than mere preparation.
So in short, did God make me misread the list? No that was my own stupidity. Can he teach us lessons through our mistakes? Of course he can, after all we make mistakes all of the time. Our mistakes also teach us that he is able to work through imperfect people to achieve his perfect purposes.
All of this reminds me of an old story. To be honest, it’s one of those preacher’s illustrations that may or may not be true. The story is of person who whilst in a hotel, heard a faltering rendition of Chopsticks being played on the piano. The rendition was then swallowed up in the most beautiful piano playing. When the person looked he saw that the Chopsticks was being played by a small boy but standing behind him was the boy’s father, who of course was a famous concert pianist, who was playing the beautiful music all around his son. The father was saying to the son ‘don’t stop son keep going, keep going’.
It’s a nice story but there is a truth in it. God works through us, mistakes and all and what is more, we work with his power. So keep going!
“To this end I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:29)