At the end of the day, I punched four miserable letters into
my computer to begin my journal entry, followed by a heavy period: Fail.
I surrendered my time to the Lord first thing that morning,
only to yank it right back, and cram more into my day than I knew I could handle.
The sum of these missteps was a tired, cranky me. Fail.
I lost it once again with my daughter in yet another
reenactment of our classic battle, unleashing a predictable tidal wave of fury
and frustration that reduced us both to tears. Fail.
I threw myself an “I’m a bad mom” pity party that rapidly
snowballed, as I followed Satan down a dark path of doom and gloom. After my
tour guide pointed out the myriad of ways my life was less than desirable, I
wallowed for a while in the slimy pit of lies he tailor-made for my displeasure.
At the end of the day, as thick regret rolled in, God caused
a familiar scripture to wash over me, dispelling the darkness: “And he said to
me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in
weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) Thankfully, in God’s mercy, there is
beauty in the big, fat fail. It is in our failure with a capital “F” that His light
shines through the unsightly cracks of our broken vessels, making us whole
again. We need to fail, so that we need
God. If we never stumbled, we would never experience our Savior lovingly scooping
us up and brushing us off.
Sometimes the deceiver convinces me that Jesus sits up
there, shaking His head at me in my failure posture: head hung, in the wake of my
mighty misses. After all, His sufferings on this earth FAR outweighed mine, and
yet He had no weakness. I should be able to get it together, for Pete’s sake. I
don’t have it that bad. Condemnation
abounds, as I beat myself up for being imperfect.
But when I sit in my Savior’s presence, allowing Him to
bathe me in His truth, I realize that He gets
it. He acknowledges how hard my trials are (for me), and commiserates with me in my weariness and frustration. He
envelops me in an ethereal embrace; He forgives and understands me. He
legitimizes my feelings and accepts me right where I am. “”A bruised reed he
will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)
Take heart, fellow failers: In His goodness, the Lord will
actually use us, the pathetic reeds
and wicks that we are! It is through our mistakes that we become more relatable
to others, and our ministries can increase. Who wants to hang out with a plastic
Pollyanna who’s never learned anything the hard way, and who’s never wallowed
in the pit (or at least doesn’t own up to it)? God gives us specific struggles
so we can turn around and encourage others in the same situation. Through
Christ, we can find joy in hard times, putting another fail under our belt as an
experience gained, and a new testimony attained! “Now I want you to know,
brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to
advance the gospel.” Philippians 1:12 (NIV)
Our friend, King David, beloved of God, was well acquainted
with failure. A cringe-worthy tour of Second Samuel reveals his many blunders:
Twiddling his thumbs at home in his palace, instead of faithfully
fighting with his men where he belonged (fail), he entertained himself by committing
adultery with Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba), then had him knocked off to cover his
tracks. Fail. Scripture says that David’s actions “displeased the Lord”,
bringing the sword upon his household for generations to come. BIG TIME Fail. (2
Samuel 11)
When David’s son Amnon raped his sister Tamar, the king just
sat there, mute, choosing the “comfort” of inactivity over holding his wayward
son accountable and lovingly legitimizing the pain of his desolate daughter. Fail.
(2 Samuel 13)
Having set such a poor example for his son, David watched Absalom,
brother to Amnon and Tamar, follow suit, failing to confront his sister’s
rapist in a timely manner, and instead nursing a grudge against Amnon that festered,
ultimately birthing Absalom’s plot to kill his brother. Fail. (2 Samuel 18)
(Deep breath.) Then, instead of forgiving Absalom for
murdering his brother, David let the root of bitterness grow, further
estranging his son, only to crumble under the weight of regret and longing for
the son he had sadly held at a distance for so long, when Absalom met his fate.
Fail. (2 Samuel 18)
But, good news! David, called a “man after God’s own heart”,
was still mightily used of God, the Redeemer, and today we can learn from his
mistakes by studying his story in the Bible (painful though it is, for the
reader, to witness such sickening ramifications of sin).
When we get down on ourselves, and Satan starts to flog us
with our failures, we need only lift our eyes heavenward and rest in God’s
sufficiency. God alone never fails.
And He brings beauty from ashes.
Come to the River…
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never
cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
The next time you feel overwhelmed by your failures, take a
moment to look at yourself through Your Father’s eyes. Breathe His presence in,
allowing Him to give you a glimpse of His priceless perspective. How does He see
you and your misses? 

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