I’ve never met a person who enjoys failing & most of us avoid stuff that has a high risk for failing. But there are LOADS of people in the Bible who failed, took risks and some had tremendous successes – usually after they had overcome some significant failure hurdles. Some examples would include:
Jacob’s son, Joseph: failed with his brothers, but became 2nd in command to Pharoah in Egypt & rescued his family from famine
Jacob: tricked his brother & father, but went on to become “Israel” and the founder of the Twelve Tribes
Saul / Paul: gave hearty approval at Stephen’s martyrdom & became the largest contributing author to the New Testament in addition to founding the majority of early churches on two continents
When you fail, keep in mind some helpful perspectives:
failing is a verb, but failure is a noun: one can change but the other is more permanent
the greatest lessons often come from failing more than succeeding
failing can the essential fertilizer for redemption
no failure is beyond God’s power & love to transform into beauty, resurrection, abundance and divine success!
Hard circumstances, unknown terrain, impossible journeys – these are all things in which God specializes. As you read this, maybe you’re in a financial crisis & Christmas looks impossible; maybe you’ve received a medical report that’s disturbing; maybe you have some toxic relational challenges that seem to be never ending; maybe you’re discouraged or depressed; maybe you have some work or school difficulties that are bigger than your abilities, time or energy.
Be encouraged today, that God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Remind yourself of how God delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt:
providing a leader, Moses, who was educated & committed to their freedom
supernatural signs & wonders (10 Plagues) to break the slavery bondage
Passover to establish the relationship between God & the nation of Israel
plundering the Egyptians when the Israelites walked out of Egypt
split the Red Sea & drowning the enemies who were intent on dragging the Israelites back into slavery
God did lots more when He liberated the Israelites, so be encouraged that you’re not in a situation that exceeds God’s ability to transform nor redeem! Feel free to share this with your friends to encouage them as well!
“I am Joseph, your brother.” I’ve been reading the story of Joseph in the last part of Genesis & I’m always astounded by the events that led up to these words. There are so many ways this story could’ve taken a bad turn.
Joseph could’ve let bitterness settle into his heart & he could’ve cruelly repaid his brothers for their malevolence.
Joseph’s dad could’ve died before learning that his son was alive & highly successful.
Joseph’s brothers could’ve continued to be the jerks they were with him when they sold him into slavery.
But none of these things happened & when Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, he was fully committed to keeping his family alive & healthy, redeeming his family in a time of famine & desolation.
Let’s follow Joseph’s example in our daily living & relationships – committed to being agents of redemption, even when others may not recognize the redemption.
“The well is deep & you have nothing to draw with.” Little did the Samaritan woman know that her observation about the deep well would foreshadow the deep conversation she would have with Jesus in John 4. Initially, their discussion was about getting Jesus a drink of water, but in no time, Jesus went for the jugular when He told her to bring along her husband & then He read her mail about the litany of failed marriages she had. Clearly, with Jesus there was no pretending.
And I think this value rings true for us today as well. When it comes to talking wth Jesus, there’s no sense in posturing or pretending. It’s better to come to Jesus in full disclosure & entire access. This is an essential ingredient to live in the continual state of healing & redemption that Jesus has for us!! The Samaritan woman went back to her town & declared to them, “Come & see a man who told me everything I ever did!” And thus began the Jesus revolution that turned her town upside down!
I’ve been reading about King David in 2 Samuel lately & this morning I was struck by the severity of his shortfall with Bathsheba. There are a boatload of things he did wrong in that scenario:
should’ve been out fighting with Joab, but he stayed home
secretly watched a naked woman bathing
continued his interest in her by inquiring her name
brought her to his palace
slept with her, knowing she was married
tricked Uriah, her husband
sent Uriah to be killed in battle
Bathsheba became pregnant after sleeping with David, their son was born sick and died after seven days. This story is an epic tragedy full of death, pain, suffering, selfishness, deception and loads more! It seems to me that nothing good could come out this whole mess, ever, never and in no way.
Solomon was considered one of Israel’s greatest kings! He built the temple in Jerusalem, wrote two books of the Bible and was one of the wisest men who ever lived. Solomon was the son of Bathsheba and King David, after the baby died who was conceived from David’s sin.
Let’s remember that there’s no weakness or failure in our lives that God cannot redeem & make into something entirely glorious!
Regardless of our best intentions, all of us fail. The most encouraging example for me with failure is when I think about Jesus’ disciple, Peter. I think he majorly failed when he betrayed Jesus & it seems to me that he was more than disappointed with himself with this failure (Luke 22:61-62).
In sharp contrast to Peter’s failure with betraying Jesus, a little more than six weeks after this downfall, Peter is the lead promoter to stand in front of thousands of people on the Day of Pentecost to be Jesus’ lead frontman. This is quite the reversal in Peter’s life and this encourages us that
no failure that we’ve experienced can exceed Jesus’ power to redeem.
So rather than hide or run from our failures, let’s sit at Jesus’ feet, be transparent and vulnerable, and yield to the Holy Spirit pouring love into our hearts (Rom 5:5), for redeeming each shortfall to lift up Jesus better than we could without that failure 🙂
Dont’ forget to grab your copy of Heavenly Help & be sure to write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles & Goodreads!
I don’t like to mess up, full stop. I used to berate myself when I made mistakes, so I would often experience shame & guilt. Maybe you have some similar challenges or know someone who struggles with this as well. Here’s some hope: Peter – I think Peter’s greatest shortfall was when he denied Jesus, not one time but three. In Luke 22:61-62 it says, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.” Thankfully, this isn’t the end of the story. In John 21, we read that Jesus went the extra mile to meet up with Peter after His resurrection. They had a very powerful conversation on the beach & Peter affirms three times that he loves Jesus. Jesus reconciles where we’ve messed up.
Thomas – good ol’ Doubting Thomas (that’s an identity I’d prefer to skip); here’s the guy that brings doubt to the party when everyone is exuberantly proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection! John 20:25, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And that’s exactly what happened. Jesus met Thomas at the point of his unbelief & helped him overcome this hurdle.
Both Peter & Thomas were reconciled to Jesus despite their failures. Messing up isn’t the conclusion when we come to Jesus with the broken & dysfunctional in our lives. Reconciliation is one of the glorious results of redemption!
Yesterday, my daughter & I were going through a drive through hamburger place to grab a quick lunch and when I looked for my credit card to pay, it was missing! My heart dropped down to my toes – then I quickly started to look for my credit card & with relief found it in my car.
We can all think of various things we’ve lost in the past & what a horrible feeling it leaves in our thoughts. So when I recently read Jesus’ 3 parables about lost stuff in Luke 15 (sheep, coin & son), I was very moved by some important things for us to consider:
the shepherd, woman & father didn’t quit looking until what was lost had been found: our heavenly Father never quits & gives up trying to find & reconcile us
there was a massive celebration when the lost item / person was found & reconciled: there was no shame or scolding given to that which was lost, but rather a jubuliant celebration over the recovery & reconciliation
being lost can be expressed in lots of different contexts: the father sought to reconcile not only the renegade son, but also the self-righteous son who remained aloof & detached from his family; being right doesn’t mean we don’t need to be reconciled 🙂
Today, while I was buying some paint for a home project, some nice lady offered to hire me to help her with painting her cathedral height room. This was really random & I’m baffled as to why she would think I have painting skills. That being said, there’s lots of good things to be said about laboring & not just on Labor Day 🙂
Work can be an essential part of God working out His purposes in our lives through both the outcomes of work as well as the character work can develop inside of us. I can appreciate that work can be overwhelming & sometimes we can feel like it’s a curse. But even if you think that your work is a curse, consider that God can redeem curses in lots of creative ways, maybe even with home painting projects ,)
On my flight from Taiwan yesterday, my seat mate who didn’t speak any English, started puking after we landed in Los Angeles. She filled up her first bag, pronto & I quietly slipped her my bag, trying not to squirm out of my skin. Truth be known, I was super sympathetic because of an AWFUL experience I had earlier this year on a flight out of Africa.
It seems to me that it’s much easier to be sympathetic when we’ve walked a similar road. I could’ve easily chosen to be repelled & revolted by this lady’s condition or I could choose to do my best to help her.
What I thoroughly love about Jesus is that He chose to come into the human experience & walk among us, passing out puke bags & more importantly healing our broken condition. Let’s actively choose to be compassionate & helpful rather than revolted & repelled with the people around us 🙂
When I was growing up, I remember that my dad really enjoyed fixing up antique furniture. He would get something for cheap from a garage sale that looked like it should’ve been taken to the dump. He would bring it home, whip out the ultra-toxic, highly noxious & uber deadly furniture stripper, don his invincible, thick, industrial grade rubber gloves and begin to turn the trash into a treasure. After getting all of the garbage stripped off the wood, he’d sand down the furniture and get out some furniture glue to put together any broken pieces very gently with furniture clamps and then oil the treasure so that it was entirely transformed. In some ways, my dad was a magician. But in other ways, he was very incapable. He couldn’t do cars, electrical lamps and plumbing to name a few.
Thankfully, our heavenly Father is in the all-around fix-it business. He takes all of our brokenness, strips away the corrosive veneer we accumulate to cover the ugly, he sands down and smooths out the rough spots and more. One of the things I love about our heavenly Father is that He is the ultimate Master Craftsman. There’s nothing broken that He can’t fix, there’s nothing ugly that He can’t redeem and there’s no one so dysfunctional that He cannot transform. Nothing is impossible with our Creator! 🙂
There was a chick in Jesus’ life who was very edgy (actually, most of the women that we read about who interacted w Jesus were pretty edgy for their day). This chick had an extremely severe health need & her problem had lasted 12years & only continued to deteriorate despite spending lots of time & money on doctors & various remedies, all to no avail. Her situation was extremely sad not only because of the horrible health problem, but her problem was exacerbated because under Jewish law, she was forbidden to be in public bc of her health problem.
She took a life threatening risk to go out in public & secretly touch the hem of Jesus’ robe – risky.
The conclusion of her risky faith is that she was healed – but here’s the part that really grabs me: Jesus didn’t allow her healing to remain a secret. He called her out to make her healing publicly known – that she was well & could therefore have normal public interactions & restored relationships. Whatever we allow to come into Jesus’ presence gets improved, restored, healed & redeemed 🙂
I just had an interesting conversation with my kids about how they treat each other when they’re struggling or have had some failure. I’ve noticed that they often don’t want their siblings to know about an area in which they’re struggling because they don’t want to get teased or picked on. Sound familiar? I’ve been thinking about this problem not only with my kids but also with my brothers and sisters in Jesus. Far too often I’ve seen Christians “eat their own”& when we see this kind of treatment it makes us distrustful & reluctant to share about areas in which we struggle or have failure. In my mind, this is a super effective strategy the devil uses to divide & conquer. Jesus personifies redemption & when His disciples failed & had shortcomings, He didn’t toss them in the trash & sever His relationship with them. Jesus is in the restoration & redemption business. As His follower, I want to let His redemption & restoration flow not only to me, but also through me. Just some friendly food for thought on this happy Wednesday 😀
I hate to make mistakes for lots of different reasons. I don’t like the consequences of mistakes, I don’t like how costly mistakes can be & I don’t like the sinking feeling that I have in my gut when I make mistakes. Nevertheless, we all make mistakes & if we let God help us, there can be lots of good things that God can work into our lives from our mistakes. Here are a few examples:
mistakes help keep me humble, sigh
mistakes help me to learn that there are better ways to do things than just my ideas
mistakes teach me to rely on God to not only repair but redeem the results
mistakes teach me that balance is a daily essential
mistakes make me rely on The Helper, to comfort & counsel me in these errors
Indeed, if we love God & stay true to His purposes in our lives, He makes everything work out well 🙂