What Happens After Personal Failure?

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD. Genesis 4:25-26 ESV

People of Adam and Eve’s time lived 800-900 years. That’s a long time to labor on a newly cursed earth. That’s a long time to live with the memory of a martyred child, and an interminable amount of time to watch the descendants of Cain mock God and propagate an evil race. 

What’s astounding is that they recognized God’s redemption. They looked for His goodness and welcomed His comfort when Seth was born. With the inception of this child of promise, a new line of descendants began to worship God again. Every time one called upon the name of the Lord, I can imagine their deep joy.

Their sin in the garden didn’t kill Adam and Eve’s faith. Self-condemnation didn’t keep them from looking for a covenant keeping God. The hope of Genesis 3:17, the prediction that a Savior would come from Eve, was not abandoned. As soon as they saw the face of their newborn and named him ‘Seth’, which means ‘appointed’, they recognized the faithfulness of God. The memory of what God was like in the garden had not left them. It served as a foundation for the years of personal famine. 

Their testimony challenges me to look at how I deal with my own sins and failures. If I know the nature of God’s forgiveness, then I look for second chances. I know that my life isn’t ruined and that His mercies are new every morning. He is gracious and will craft another test where my faith can shine. I must anticipate its arrival, or I won’t recognize the face of it when it comes. I’ll wonder if God is mocking me when, instead, He’s giving me the grace and wings to get it right this time. My ‘Seth’ will be staring me in the face, begging the laughter of one who can see God’s prevailing love. 

If you only blessed me when I deserved it, it wouldn’t be redemption and your love wouldn’t be all that different from how I love others. Help me believe in your radical forgiveness and mercy. Amen

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