I took part in a play only once in my life. In my second year in university I played Earnest in “The Importance Of Being Earnest.” I thought our best performance was the full-dress rehearsal. We were a little tense on the night of the actual performance.
All in all I thought we did pretty well. One key reason was the many hours we spent rehearsing. Unfortunately we don’t get to rehearse most of the key moments of our lives.
I have replayed many times in my mind, the last time I was with my father. I think of what would have said if I knew it was going to be the last time. I think of what I would have done. But there were no rehearsals.
We are never told the significance of the moments we are given. We only learn of their true significance in retrospect. Sometimes we do the right thing. By God’s grace. By the leading of the Spirit. Or maybe we just get lucky.
Often we do the wrong things. Or we don’t do quite enough. Sometimes we make horrible mistakes. And the moment is gone, never to return. No rehearsals.
Which can make life an ever-growing accumulation of guilt. Some of us carry more of our share than others. Some of us have fumbled big time. There is nothing so oppressive than to be imprisoned within the prison of your own guilt. Which gives me a new take on hell.
Maybe hell is being frozen in eternity with the full knowledge of what should have been. What could have been. What is. And the realization that there is nothing you can do about it.
I know of only one solution to this guilt. One verse of Scripture has shielded me from the madness of despair many times in my life. Romans 8:28
” We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (NRSV)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
This verse puts me in my place. It reminds me that life is finally not predicated on my actions, right or wrong. The verse reminds me that God is the primary and final Author of life and history.
More than that, the verse speaks of this wonderful truth — that ultimately, God uses all the stuff in our lives, both good and bad, the right calls and the mistakes, for His ultimate good.
Is this fair? Of course not. But it is grace. A grace paid for by Christ’s blood.
Grace does not allow me to live life carelessly. Life is precious. I need to live each moment responsibly.
But grace frees me from living life in fear. Whatever happens God is still at the wheel. And grace frees me from guilt.
If I make a mistake I need to confess. I need to make restitution where I can. I must learn from my mistakes. But thank God, thank God, my mistake is never the last chapter in the script. God is. Grace is.
No, there are no rehearsals in life. Each moment, each choice, is unique.
But praise be to God, the Master Author. He pulls it all together in the end. And uses everything for His final resolution. Nothing is wasted.
In doing so He frees us to live life boldly. Freely.
No, there are no rehearsals in life. But everything is going to be ok. As long as we keep our eyes on the Director. And our ears open to His instructions.
Your brother, SooInn Tan