When I was in Bible college, I had a friend I’ll call Jason. Jason was on fire for God. He had devoted his life to ministry, he was up early every day studying the Scriptures, he was disciplined—guarding his heart from things that might take his eyes off Jesus, and he was challenging—encouraging the people around him and admonishing them to grow in their faith. He was a good friend and I was excited to see how God was going to use him.
Then one day, Jason made a mistake. A big mistake. It set him into despair.
In fact, my friend was so discouraged that he almost took his own life. (We got to him first and rescued him!)
In the months after my friend messed up, I talked to him about why he was so discouraged. He came from a great family. He had friends who loved him. He was doing well in school and had a bright future ahead of him. The depth of his sorrow didn’t make sense to me.
He said to me about his mistake, “I’ve disqualified myself. God will never use me now.”
My friend felt that his mistake was so grave that God could never see past it. He felt that things had changed between him and God and there was no going back.
Is that how God works?
This week, we will be continuing our series on the Book of Joel. So far, we have seen Israel’s disobedience to the covenant hit the tipping point so that God sent locusts among them. By chapter 2, the nation was reeling from the devastation. Many were wondering if this was the end. Had God rejected them forever? Were they disqualified?
Joel reminded the people of God’s mercy and encouraged them to repent. “Who knows?” He said, “whether God will turn and relent” (Joel 2:14).