Have you ever blown it really bad? If you are like me you probably have. Messing up really bad used to stress me out, not only because of the immediate consequences, but because I used to wonder has this mistake messed up God’s plan for my life. Have you ever wondered about that? Have you ever made a mistake and thought, “Oh, no! I’ve messed up my destiny.” If so, I’ve got great news for you. No matter how, bad you’ve messed up, God can take you from where you are and reshape you and your future to bring it in line with His plan for your life. Look at Jeremiah 18:
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.
This passage shows that God works with marred clay. That is a picture of you and me on our best day. This passage also shows that when God wants to make one thing out of the clay, but He can’t because the clay is marred, He can still reshape the clay and make something awesome out it because He is God and He is amazing!
After this illustration about the marred clay, the passage goes on to say that when a nation that was set for destruction repents of its sin, God will relent of the disaster He purposed for the nation. When this nation repents and God relents, He effectively reshapes their future.
A great example of God reshaping someone’s future is the Apostle Paul. After Paul gave His life to the Lord, God used him mightily in ministry for many years to to reach folks in Galatia, Athens, Corinth, and lead a great revival in Ephesus. After Paul led the revival in Ephesus, he blew it really bad! The Holy Spirit led him to travel to Rome to minister (see Romans 1:9-10), but Paul decided to disobey the inward witness of the Holy Spirit and multiple prophetic words and went to Jerusalem instead.
When Paul went to Jerusalem, he was beaten and arrested. Things did not go well. In the midst of that, however, Jesus appeared to Paul in prison and said,
Acts 23:11 “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified of me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness of me at Rome.”
Jesus didn’t condemn Paul when he was in prison. Jesus didn’t even bring up how Paul blew it. Jesus simply came in and encouraged Paul that He would bear witness of Him in Rome, which was the original plan! This is because the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. Our sin doesn’t remove the calling on our life. The only thing that will keep us from walking in our calling when we blow it is a lack of faith in God’s mercy!
Jesus got Paul to Rome when He was sitting in jail in Jerusalem by reshaping his future. Jesus orchestrated a series of events that helped Paul escape an assassination plot in Jerusalem and led him to Caesarea where he shared the gospel with multiple important political leaders including Felix, Festus, and Herrod Agrippa! Remember, this wasn’t the original plan, yet God reshaped Paul’s future to bring good out of Paul’s error and give Paul influence even though he blew it!
God then put Paul on a ship for Rome. I’d love to tell you it was an easy trip, but unfortunately a great storm arose and everyone on the boat thought they were going to die. Paul prayed, however, and got a word from God and then as a prisoner became the most influential person on the ship! None of this would have happened if Paul had obeyed God and went to Rome originally, yet even with Paul’s sin, God reshaped Paul’s future to bring good and give Paul influence on a Roman ship!
When the ship landed in Malta, Paul was bitten by a snake as he tried to gather firewood. The natives thought this was a sign Paul must have been a murderer and the universe had conspired against Paul to bring justice. Paul believed God, however, and shook the snake into the fire and lived. The natives then thought Paul was a god! They honored him and this gave Paul the influence to lead a revival on the island (Acts 28:8-10). The natives then gave Paul and his ministry team provisions for the trip, which gave Paul the money to rent a home in Rome to preach the gospel from while he was under house arrest awaiting to stand trial.
Going to Jerusalem was Paul’s greatest failure after he committed his life to Christ. He blew it really bad at the apex of his ministry when he should have gone to Rome and brought leadership to the church there. In the midst of his willful sin, God didn’t give up on Paul and reshaped his future to bring Paul back into the original plan as he repented. Be encouraged that even if you have disobeyed God, all is not lost. If you will repent and trust in God’s mercy, He can reshape your future to bring His will to pass in your life!
I hope this article encouraged you. If you’d like to learn more about how Paul got back on track with the plan of God, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.