“I’ve really blown it now! I’m sorry, but what good is being sorry when it is impossible to pick up the pieces? I can’t go back and live that time over again. I wish I could—but time can’t be wiped out, the things I’ve done can’t be undone, the things I’ve said can’t be unsaid. I feel like a ghastly mess that ought to be tossed in the garbage pail. Life is just impossible.”

Have you ever said anything like that? Have you ever felt an overwhelming wave of finality as regrets washed over you, threatening to drag you out into a sea of hopelessness? Such feelings of worthlessness can turn into egotistical introspection for the Christian; he may forget that One who made the universe out of nothing is not limited, and does not look at any human being, broken as that one may be, and see a “blank” or a hopeless mess ready for the trash pile. God, the Creator of all things out of nothing, is a God of diversity and is without limit in his creative ideas. He can take any one of his children at any point and make an amazing work of art with what looks like “the end.” The end can become a surprise beginning when placed in the hands of an expert.

Listen to this true story. Some years ago a lovely girl named Jane was helping to prepare food for the weekend meals at L’Abri Fellowship. As we looked over the menus together I got out my favorite sponge-cake recipe for her to make while I rushed around doing other things. After a time a puzzled-looking Jane came to show me a strange mixture, yellow and sticky. “Is this what it’s supposed to look like? Shall I put it into the pan now?”

“Oh, no,” I said in a rather horrified tone. “Please don’t. It’s not right at all. You must have left something out.”

“No, I followed the instructions perfectly, ...

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