The Christian life is about redemption. It is about hope, not only in the life to come but in the present one, too.
We all have regrets. We all have situations we wish we could do over. Perhaps some of those times were so bad we don’t see how we could possible recover. The good news is that as long as we are alive, God has the ability to help us overcome our past mistakes. He can bring us out of current bad situations into something glorious. The Bible is filled with example after example of God taking broken people who had made a mess of things and using them for something amazing.
Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” – Judges 16:28, ESV
Samson was a legend. He was Israel’s hero and from a worldly perspective he had an unbelievably awesome life. He was talked about as a mythical man. He attracted a crowd wherever he went. He feasted well and had his choice of women. And he was a judge over Israel. It is hard to reconcile why God didn’t humble Samson sooner. He was certainly not an example of holiness and righteousness. But as I consider why God didn’t discipline Samson before He did, I have to come to the unpleasant thought that God has been merciful in His discipline of my sins, too.
But Samson was eventually humbled. His sins did lead to his downfall. He didn’t escape the consequences after all. When the last shred of Samson’s vow as a Nazarite was removed with a haircut, God removed Samson’s amazing strength. Samson was captured be the Philistines and they, among other things, blinded him. The legend and myth was reduced to the status of a crippled slave. Needless to say, the Philistines mocked him.
It was that mocking of Samson and of God that led to Samson’s final moment. It was a redemptive one, even if his prayer was more than a bit selfish. Samson wanted revenge. He wanted to make the Philistines pay for taking his eyes. God chose to honor that prayer, despite the selfish request for revenge, and He gave Samson a glorious exit. Samson’s strength returned, he brought down the temple to Dagon, and slew all who had gathered to mock Samson and his God. This was how Samson finished life. There’s a pun here, a phrase popular in men’s circles: Samson finished strong.
While Samson finished physically strong, I don’t know if we could argue that he finished spiritually strong. His last prayer was focused on himself and not on God. Yet God wrote a great ending, did He not? So what about us? What if we finish strong spiritually? What if God is our priority? What if we allow God to make what He will of the rest of our lives, no matter how short or how long? Our past does not define us. Our Savior does. If your past is still haunting you, give it over to our Lord Jesus. Pray to Him for strength to finish spiritually strong. Let Him write a redemptive story, not only in the life to come, but in the present one, too.