I’ve Ruined My Life
To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7
Every day, when I wake up, I thank God for recovery and redemption. It hasn’t always been this way though. In 2014, when I lost my job due to my opioid addiction, my marriage was a mess and my career appeared to be over. I’ve never felt such hopelessness and despair, realizing that I’d ruined my life forever. That wasn’t the end though.
I went to treatment, returned to my faith, and pursued recovery. Through this, God transformed my life, restoring what I’d lost. I didn’t get my old job back, but I got my career back, and I’m now able to use my medical license to help others who struggle as I have. My marriage wasn’t fixed all at once, but my wife didn’t leave, and now we’ve built a new life out of the ashes of the old one. We’re far from perfect, but we once again love each other and have recently started leading a marriage small group at our church. We’ve been through the fire, and now God uses our disaster for good.
This is God’s business. He takes our failures and, if we’re willing to follow him, redeems those disasters, turning something terrible into something beautiful. This is the story of the Bible. Way back in Genesis, at the beginning, we’re told how Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden – until they disobeyed God, eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17). The consequence of their sin was disastrous for themselves and for humanity, as they were cast out of paradise, cut off from the tree of life, and all of creation fell. Pain, war, conflict, disease, and all manner of evil was born that day, and man has lived in a broken world ever since.
That’s not the end of the story though. In today’s passage, in the final book of the Bible, Jesus promised the Ephesian church that if they persevered in faith, they’d once again eat from the tree of life, returning to the paradise of the Garden of Eden. Though they’d been banished thousands of years prior, God promised that through faith in Christ, they could once again experience authentic and eternal life.
This promise is for all of us. If we’ll abandon the old life and follow God’s will, we can also experience eternal life. In faith, we find redemption, not just in the next life, but also in this one. In Christ, there’s always hope for the future. Not all evil can be undone on this Earth, but God can always redeem us, restoring us to the life for which we were made. In God, there is always hope.