Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Failure Is Not Fatal

This profound line from an Amy Grant song has stuck with me for 25 years:

…the more I try to be the best the more I get the worst.*

Christ-followers are not immune to failure. Some wounds are self-inflicted and some are just plain baffling.

It drives us to our knees (in prayer, that is), and in doing so, we gain the power to bounce back.

Father God,

I know a football coach, a man strong in his faith, whose season has imploded. I know a politician, a man strong in his faith, whose campaign has collapsed.

High achievers. People of faith. Facing failure. How do we sort this out?

~ ~ ~

Faith does not necessarily protect us from hubris. Holy Spirit, illuminate my blind spots.

We mistakenly bundle ego and aspirations with our faith. Holy Spirit, give me discernment.

A faithful life may prompt Divine correction. That’s an irony that can really sting. Holy Spirit, may I learn and grow from such pruning.

And then, bad stuff happens that defies explanation. Evil? Chance? Accident? Holy Spirit, prepare me for setbacks with perspective and endurance.

~ ~ ~

Lord Christ, I have learned that some degree of failure is inevitable. We are flawed. People with the mightiest faith are still sinners.

Faith may not shield us from failure, but it will soften the blow. It’s the trampoline we fall upon when we fail…and we bounce back!

We learn from these wounds, they heal and our trust in you grows.

St. Paul understood. He coped with flogging, mob violence, a shipwreck and imprisonment:

…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Roman 8:37-39)

Failure isn’t fatal. Thanks be to God! Amen.