I have failed in life many times, in many ways, and in many things. I have failed at being a wife, a mother (oh so many times) a friend, a chaplain, an employee, and a disciple. I have failed at correction, at leading, at submission, at cooperation, at fundraising, at meeting deadlines, and at keeping promises and commitments -the list is long. Some failures are my own doing, some are the circumstances of life, and some are the failures of others. I lost a missions donor (and more) because someone else deemed me a failure in my personal life by their own perceptions (simply difference of opinion not a gross wrongdoing) – does that make me the failure or them, for basing God’s work of the Kingdom on human flesh instead of God? Or should we just leave room for being imperfect humans with differences of opinion instead of judging it as failure?
I have learned never to say never. Of course even in that statement, I just said “never” and in doing so failed.
I am simply full of holes, but I am in excellent company.
The bible is full of failures, my contemporary missionaries, pastors, friends, partners, family members have also failed. God is able to expand His Kingdom in spite of us, not because of us. The question is do we keep moving forward in our failures, or do we give up?
Giving up isn’t an option for me. It wasn’t for Peter either.
Peter was a huge failure. Matthew 26 tells the story of the last supper Jesus shared with his twelve friends. They sat together as He explained how he would suffer and die, and they were to remember His death by the bread and wine.
“Then Jesus told them, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me. There is a Scripture that says,
I’ll strike the shepherd; helter-skelter the sheep will be scattered. But after I am raised up, I, your Shepherd, will go ahead of you, leading the way to Galilee.”Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.”“Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. “This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.”
Peter protested, “Even if I had to die with you, I would never deny you.” (Emphasis mine) All the others said the same thing.”
I am not a young contemporary speaker and writer. I am not a young anything anymore. With age has come some wisdom and a whole lot of additional brokenness and humility. I don’t love speaking engagements because I want to wow others with a well polished and theatrical performance. I love sharing my experiences with others because I have done, seen, and experienced more than the average person; and I have witnessed the faithfulness of God’s great love to restore, renew, and redeem broken vessels through the worst of failures.
Bury a child in an abusive cult – you can’t feel like you have failed much greater than that.
And yet, our failures are the bridge to God’s grace.
Every time we fail, we realize how much He loves us, and how much He doesn’t care about what we can’t or can’t do. He only cares about how much we are willing to surrender and let His grace work in, and for us. That’s the Good News.
We will fail. We all have our thorns. We are only made strong in Him when we recognize that He doesn’t need us. He never did. We need Him. We are just here to facilitate what He has done, and is already doing because of His amazing love.
The Apostle Paul knew His grace is all we need,
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” 2 Cor. 12:9-10
Jesus, I am weak, never let me go.