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Day 18

Hope After a Fall

by René Schlaepfer

Read Lamentations 3:17-33

The guilt you feel after a fall can be crippling. You tell yourself over and over: “I messed up. I abused people’s trust. I am flushing my life away.”

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Bill Dallas found that out when he was convicted of grand theft embezzlement. He shares his story in the book Lessons from San Quentin. He was a new Christian from a hard partying background when he was sent to the toughest prison in California. Emotionally shattered, he spent hours on the cell floor curled into a fetal position, weeping. The shame of his crime led him to complete and utter despair.

Hope came from an unlikely source: Members of the “Lifers’ Club.” These hardened criminals had come to grips with who they were and what they had done, and had found hope in a Christian faith based both on the reality of their helplessness and a daily dependence on the power of God. One of the lifers helped Bill get a job sweeping the prison TV studio. He now had a purpose that got him up every day. He started to explore his new faith. And he eventually turned around his entire world view. Today he helms a Christian satellite ministry and shares his story openly.

Bill summarizes what he learned about recovering from a fall in these simple phrases: “Embrace your trials; choose sustaining faith in God; get a biblical self-image; get rid of self-absorption; persevere until you ‘get it’; find freedom in God’s forgiveness. And cling to hope.

Of course, those principles are from the Bible. In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah also weeps over the horrible emotional and physical consequences of sin. Then he remembers:

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” [Lamentations 3:21–22]

No matter how far you’ve fallen, God’s compassion never fails. In fact, the entire Bible is an example of how God uses flawed and fallen people for great things: From Moses to David to Thomas to Paul, the saints we meet are error-prone and sinful. In other words, they’re human. And the Bible makes their humanness plain to show God’s power and to give hope to a despairing world.

Question to Consider

When you read Lamentations 3:17–33, what phrases do you identify with? How does this bring you hope?


Lord, thank You for forgiving me and loving me even though I have fallen. Help me not to compound my sin with self-pity and hopelessness. Thank You for Your mercies which are new every morning!