If you haven’t tasted the fine dining experience called Failure, you haven’t lived.
But don’t worry, you’ll probably get your chance.
Those of us who’ve tasted it will warn you, it’s kind of bitter. Well, ok, very bitter. But it gives dimension to the other flavors on the plate. It heartens those boring veggies, making them more colorful and appealing than ever before. It gives just the right amount of spice and tenderness to the protein, which before seemed bland. And the fruit is sweeter and juicier than you ever thought possible.
That’s the effect failure can have on your life when God takes it and uses it for good.
I’ve lived through failure. Who among us hasn’t? If you’re scratching your head, think of it this way: if you can walk, it took a few falls to walk; if you can ride a bike, it took a few spills before you sailed down the street; if you can read, it took a few sputtering attempts at putting together letters before it finally made sense. Those little failures weren’t pleasant, but they led to success. Failure didn’t win in the long-run.
I love how David’s cries to the Lord show his humbling circumstances and how God responded.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:2,3 (NIV)
Our current sermon series is about Comebacks, and has been fascinating to listen to (http://fivestonechurch.com). But I was already thinking a lot about my own biggest failure and come back when this series began.
My daughter Sarah and I had a conversation not long ago. For some reason the topic of my first year of teaching came up. As I told Sarah of my peculiar and somewhat traumatic year, I felt self-doubt and defeat rise up as if I were 23 again.
“How can anyone recover from that?” she asked.
Good question. Looking back, I’m kind of surprised that I had enough backbone at 23 to face my fears and teach again. But Jesus can do a lot of healing, even when it’s gradual and internal.
Though I don’t want to admit it, coming back from the scorn and failure of my first year of teaching probably helped strengthen me to face the devastation of Kristen’s diagnosis a couple years later.
Jesus is the key to coming back after any kind of failure.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Jesus doesn’t allow our failures to win.