The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork. She [the ostrich] lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense. Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider. Job 39:13-18, emphasis mine

When I read this scripture I am amazed at God’s joyfulness at each unique thing He has created – each bringing Him joy in their own way. He doesn’t judge the ostrich for her lack of sense and wisdom or her inability to fly like the stork. He simply acknowledges it as part of how she was created. But then He points out the joy that is her own. He says, “But, Oh, when she spreads her wings to run, she laughs at the horse and rider.” That brings to my mind the picture of a woman riding a horse as fast as it will gallop, her hair flying behind her while she’s laughing in the wind at the fun she’s having. The laughter of sheer freedom, joy and even victory. That’s how the ostrich feels when she runs. And God, in writing about it, takes great joy in the ostrich for what He has given her, without finding fault in her for what she may lack.

I think God sees all of us similarly. We each bring our own unique joy to Him. He is not critical of our human frailties because He knows how we were made. We beat ourselves up for our failures before God, not really expecting ourselves to be perfect all the time – just this time. But God knows how we were made and He expects more failure from us than we expect from ourselves. And He has made a provision for it through His grace.

I’m not excusing sin. Sin is serious and we need to repent and return to God. But not all failure is sin. Sometimes, failure (or perceived failure) comes just from doing something God has not endowed us with the wisdom or good sense to do. Instead, he’s created us to shine in other areas, and when we find those areas, our service brings us and God great joy.

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