I was looking for something that would help me come to grips with what has been going on in the year 2020. I came across an ad: “Reward: Lost dog. Three legs, blind in left eye, right ear missing, tail broken, recently neutered. Answers to the name: ‘Lucky.’”

Yep! That’s 2020! Not only 2020 but, “Lucky!” could also describe how we feel while facing difficulties and setbacks.

Stephen Pile, wrote, “The Book of Failures.” The prologue begins: “Success is overrated.” Then he documents the worst failures of all time. Hundreds of them.

Arthur Pedrick received the prize for worst inventor. He patented 162 inventions. Not one of them was ever taken up and used. Not one. Among his greatest hits: A bicycle with amphibious capability. An arrangement where a car could be driven from the back seat. A golf ball that could be steered in flight. I am not making this up.

So, how do you measure up to these failures? All of us have failed and all of us have at times failed spectacularly but I doubt any of us made “The Book of Failures.”

I saw a bumper sticker: Christians are not perfect… just forgiven. That phrase assures me that my primary purpose is to do my best and trust God. God honors effort, not perfection, attitude, not just results.

Christians are not perfect… just forgiven.

We all live in the shadow of failure and discouragement at one time or another, not just individually but throughout our nation and world. In 2020 we live in the shadow of difficulties far beyond anything we could ever imagine. The Pandemic that should have faded away, is worse than ever. Our nation is full of tension and division.

What worked in the past seems doomed for failure today. There is that word again. It is so easy to become discouraged and cynical about our present and our future.

More than ever, we need encouragement from God. Psalm 103 is a great place to start. Psalm 103 was likely written by King David during his later years when he has the chance to look back on his life including his sins and there were many.

If anyone needs forgiveness it is David. On the other hand, David also passionately loved God and served God in amazing ways. So, David is a mixed blessing and that is the point. People who follow God are not perfect, but they are forgiven.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. (103:8-11)

God is righteous to all who are treated unfairly. God is compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and filled with unfailing love. He does not accuse or punish. His unfailing love is as high as the heavens. God is tender and compassionate. He knows we are weak. He knows there will be years like 2020 but all of that will fade like dust or grass or wildflowers, quickly gone. But the love, the awesome love of God remains forever.

Tony Compolo shares a letter from eight-year-old, Danny Dutton describing God.

One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to take care of things here on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think that’s because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that up to mothers and fathers.

Jesus is God’s son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and doing miracles, and trying to teach people about God who really didn’t want to learn. They finally got tired of him preaching to them, so they crucified him. But he was good and kind and told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing, and to forgive them. And God said, “Okay!”

If you don’t believe in God, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you – like to camp – but God can. It’s good to know that God’s around when you’re scared of the dark or when you can’t swim very good and you get thrown in real deep water by big kids. And that’s what I believe about God. As Christians, we are not perfect. But we are forgiven. What a great promise from an awesome God.