“Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, for You will answer me” (Psalm 86:6-7).

Oswald Chambers puts his finger on something we’ve all experienced in one way or another—regret that we’ve missed a huge opportunity or failed to resist a temptation. But before we sink into despair, we should consider the challenge Oswald offers: “Arise and go to the next thing. Let the past sleep. Go out to the irresistible future with Him.” We prepare for the “irresistible future” by calling on the Lord to purify us and empower us, especially when we feel corrupted and weak. When we open ourselves to God’s work in our lives, Chambers says, “The Spirit of God comes in and says, ‘Buck up.’” There is a mysterious alchemy here—our call and the Spirit’s command and empowering. We have our part, and we need to step up to it. When we do “buck up,” we often find that the spiritual energy starts to flow. Chambers points out that when Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, he told him to stretch it forth. The longer we live, the more we realize that although we may have skills, spiritual insights, and a strong commitment to following Christ, we still fall short of the Lord’s example. Sometimes we fall so short that we are amazed at the depth of the ditch we find ourselves in. it’s when we’re amazed at just how weak we are to live as faithful disciples that we understand what Scripture means when it says that God gives His strength in our great weakness. When we feel paralyzed by our failures or full of regret over lost opportunities, we might well get a grip on Chambers’ practical challenge: “Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action!”

Adapted from “The One Year Book of Encouragement”