When I think of 2019, I am ashamed. On December 31st I sat on my bed wishing I could join the droves of people posting with thankfulness to God about the personal, relational, or ministerial successes of the year. When I reflected on what my own life looked like during the past twelve months, my heart sank and my eyes stung with tears. While the Lord was still good, merciful, and worked in mighty ways, I couldn’t sugarcoat it: I failed miserably.
I did not love the local church as I should have. I did not love brothers and sisters as I should have. I did not love the lost as I should have. Ultimately, I did not love the Lord as I should have. While these things are true for all believers to varying degrees, the sin pervading my life this past year was especially potent and bitter. And this season occurred while I was in seminary training for lifelong ministry service. The irony was almost unbearable.
There is a lot of advice floating around for seminary students—how to be disciplined, how to lead, how to learn—but what do we do when we fail? Or (as was the question in my mind on the last day of 2019) how can I possibly participate in the work of God when I am so unworthy? Fortunately, the Bible speaks to this question which haunts the hearts of seminary students just as it has spoken to every follower of Jesus Christ for the past 2,000 years.