How do you handle mistakes? We probably don’t like to think about it, but we must face the reality that we make mistakes in life … sometimes big ones. So, it’s important to know how to handle them the right way and still move forward.
One place in the Bible that helps us understand how to handle mistakes is the 90th Psalm. It was written by Moses after a time when the children of Israel made a huge mistake.
Moses had been leading the people of Israel to their promised land, and they were on the verge of entering that land. But most of the Israelites were so intimidated by the inhabitants there that they decided to abandon their plans to take the land. God was greatly displeased with their lack of faith and therefore told them He would never allow them to enter the promised land in their lifetime. They would now have to roam in the wilderness until all the unbelievers died. Their children would be the ones to finally enter the land, but that would not come for some forty years.
Think of how the people of Israel must have felt in that moment. It’s obvious that they took God’s judgment seriously. Moses wrote to the Lord, “By Your wrath we are terrified” (Psalm 90:7). They had made a big mistake and there was no way to change it.
Yet, even after their sin, they still had to go on and keep living their lives. Moses knew they had to make the best of the situation, so he prayed that their sorrow would be turned to joy. He cried out for wisdom, compassion, and mercy “that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” (v. 14).
You see, God makes it possible to have hope even in times of sorrow or regret. Only through God’s grace and help can we rejoice and be glad all our days!
Moses continued by praying, “Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us” (v. 17). So, this tells us that it is possible to find favor even after you make a mistake. It’s possible to still find joy, be glad, and rejoice.
Since the hope of entering the promised land had been taken away, it would have been easy for the Israelites to lose their sense of purpose. But God still had important work for them to do; they were still part of His eternal plan for humanity. They needed to raise their children in the ways of the Lord in order to prepare them to enter the land. Their lives still had meaning and purpose.
Maybe you find yourself in a situation like Moses. You’ve made a big mistake, and there’s no way to change it now. But know that your life is not over! God still has a future for you that’s good, so you can still rejoice and be glad. You are still important, and God can still use you. You can pray as Moses did, that God would “establish the work of our hands for us” (v. 17).
I believe God has a message of hope for you and me today. You may be experiencing a time of sorrow, despair, or disappointment, but God wants you to know that He’s not finished yet! He still has plans for you that are good! God ALWAYS has a meaningful future for you if you’ll follow Him.