This sermon is part of the sermon series "Wicked". See series.
I once read a book called The Book of Failures. It was filled with all kinds of failures that people have made. For instance, the book introduces Arthur Pedrick, who patented 162 inventions, but not one of them was ever taken up commercially. These inventions include a car that could be driven from the back seat, a golf ball that could be steered in flight, and a plan to irrigate the deserts of the world by sending a constant supply of snowballs from the polar region through a massive network of giant peashooters. I kid you not.
My favorite story in the book was about an elderly lady in South London who called a group of firefighters to rescue her cat from a tree. They arrived with impressive speed and carefully rescued her cat. The lady was so thankful that she invited them in for tea. So they had tea, received another round of thanks from the woman, and drove off, waving goodbye. And as they backed out of her driveway, they drove right over her cat!
But most failures are not funny. They're painful, wounding. They leave scars that throb with pain. A lot of people want to know where God is when we fail morally. If you were to switch that question around and ask, "Where do you want him to be?" most of us would say, "I'd like him to be about a million miles away." But is that what we really want? I don't think so. I think we'd want God to meet us where we are, as a failure, and give us a second chance. But is that who God is when we screw up? Or do we have a God that we really should hope is a million miles away.
Today we come to that very question as we bring our "Wicked" series to an end. We've looked at some of the most pivotal questions related to the reality of our screw-ups and failures—our sin. Today ...
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James Emery White is founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a consulting editor to Leadership Journal. He is author of Serious Times and A Search for the Spiritual, and blogs at churchandculture.org.