The story of Ishmael in the Bible is complicated. Abraham and Sarah had God's promise of a son, but in their impatience took matters into their own hands, and Abraham had this baby with Hagar, Sarah's maid. Ishmael was a mistake, bringing extreme strife and dysfunction to the home. Yet God spoke to Abraham that even though it was a terrible mess, "I will make Ishmael extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. I will make him a great nation" (Genesis 17:20). And amazingly, it was descendants of Ishmael who came along at the right moment and kept Joseph, Abraham's great grandson, from dying in the pit when his brothers betrayed him (see Gen. 37). What am I saying? The mistake of Abraham became the miracle of Joseph, who helped save the rest of their family. That's how amazing God is. He knows how to bring good even when we fail.
We all have some Ishmaels. We all have times when we blew it, got involved in things that we shouldn't have, and made a mess. We think, Too bad for me. This is what I deserve. The accuser constantly whispers, "You're a shameful failure. God's never going help you." Don't believe those lies. God is full of mercy. He doesn't turn His back when you make mistakes. Just the opposite. He'll not only help you clean up the mess you made, He'll take it one step further and make miracles out of those mistakes. The apostle Paul said it this way, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28). "All things" means even our mistakes, even the times we blew it and got off course, God knows how to work it for our good.
You may be in a complicated situation that seems as though there's no way out. There are other people involved, different personalities, legal circumstances. But here's the beauty: God knew you would mess up before He called you. He didn't base His plan for your life on you making perfect decisions. God has a plan even for your mistakes and failures. God has it all figured out. His ways are better than our ways. God is saying, "I'm going to correct those complications. I'm going to cause good things to work out that you could never make happen on your own. I will make miracles out of your mistakes."