When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams By Jill Eileen Smith

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Day One

What I Did Was Unforgivable

Psalm 13:1–2

Some things we do in life seem unforgivable. The details of our hurts don’t matter so much as the fact that we have them. We blow it. We live with guilt and shame and become tangled in crippling bitterness and an unwillingness to accept God’s forgiveness of us. And we wonder if life will ever look different, be better. 

After Eve disobeyed God (Genesis 3-4) she didn’t get a do-over. Eve’s choice to listen to the serpent caused a seismic shift to cross all lines of humanity. Her relationship with Adam broke. Their son Cain killed his brother Abel. But God didn’t abandon her or Adam or their family or the generations that have come from the mother of all the living. 

She couldn’t undo her actions or fix something only God could fix, but she was God’s child. He didn’t leave her without hope. He loved her and made a way for her to be in communion with Him again. He even made her a promise of a Savior yet to come. Jesus mended what she could not so we could be free of our own guilt and all that separates us from people and from God.

When life hits us so hard we want to hide, or go into overdrive and work ourselves into constant denial, or fall into a habit of escape or a pit of depression—which are all really symptoms of the same feelings—we need to know we can’t change anything. But God can.

Eve had to eventually realize that she couldn’t go back. She couldn’t restore Abel’s life. But Cain, who had killed him, could be forgiven. We can all be forgiven if we but ask.

When we wrestle with guilt or hurt in a big way, we have to let the outcome be God’s. Sometimes we learn that lesson the hard way, but in the end, even hard lessons can lead to a place of trust. When life doesn’t go the way we’d planned because of our own foolish or selfish choices, we can stop fearing the future and trust that God still knows how to work things for our good. When faced with the “can’t go backs,” we can allow a loving Father to lead us forward into freedom with something far better than we could imagine.

Are you afraid to trust God to fix what you can’t? If so, why?