Have you ever felt like falling into despair because you had not done what you were supposed to do? Have you felt like giving up and thought, “What’s the use, anyway?”
Just before Jesus went to the cross, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to consider, in prayer, the road ahead. He contemplated drinking that final cup of bitter dregs. He was to come face-to-face with all of humanity’s sin. He was about to offer up the ultimate sacrifice — Himself — to redeem mankind and He needed to know that He was not facing the unfathomable burden of satan’s final onslaught by Himself. Therefore, He asked the disciples to support Him by just being there for Him: keeping watch and praying and agonizing with Him before the Father. Instead of supporting Jesus, three times, He found them sleeping.
Finally, in Mark 14:42, He told the disciples to get up and get going. Jesus loved the disciples in spite of themselves, and I am sure the disciples found it very hard to forgive themselves and to not fall into self-talk of, “It is all over now; I failed Him and what is the use of trying anyway.” On the contrary, Jesus told them to get up and get going on to the next thing ahead of them.
After we have disappointed God and we try to take the first step toward Him, it often is a step into the dark, but not for long! We find that He was there all the time and then the drudgery of that first step in His direction becomes divinely transfigured into joy. During this process, we stop dreaming about getting up, and instead, find ourselves living and fulfilling His dream for us. (Simply dreaming — fantasizing about what we might do, or could do, or should do — rather than actively responding after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.)
After we have failed the Lord and we walk back into His arms and His vision for us, we can take huge steps into the future He has planned for us: a deeper love for Him with a greater joy. We find that a right response after a failure is actually an advance in His Kingdom!
Below is a picture of a person whose steps are ordered by the Lord. She was just forgiven and restored. The balloons she is carrying are filled with the helium of the Holy Spirit, and this lightens her footsteps, enabling her to leap over the hard places in life. Restoration joy is the compelling force which enables her to keep on fulfilling His dream for her.