What to do with failure? Hide it? No, unless you like being alone to yourself.

“So how are you?” someone inquires and you say, “I am fine. I am all right. I absolutely couldn’t be better.” And if pressed to continue, you will find past successes to tell about. But you will still be isolated in your failure, condemning feelings and the agonizing thoughts of regret. These thoughts and feelings work overtime in your mind causing you to be intimidated by your very own shadow, not to mention by the people you regard and respect.

In such a state, you cannot pay attention to your heart and its longing to be touched — never mind experience love. No, not even love can call you out of this place of isolation.

So then the only thing to do is derive some pleasure dwelling on the failures of others. Sure, you may have made a few “errors in judgment,” but that guy blew it; he blew it big. That usually works. Feeling better yet?

No, of course not. Not until you embrace your failure, bring it to light and let it do its work in your life. Yes, failure has a job to do; it has a purpose, as long as you don’t stand in its way.

(Enter God.)

As a matter of fact, your best work will come through your failures. You cannot even put your “best foot forward” without stumbling. To accept failure is to know that you are very good at blowing it and God is very good at using it. You are weak. He is strong and it is through His strength in your weakness that He expresses such unfathomable power through His free-flowing grace to you and then outwards through you to others.

Accept the Call to Failure. To accept failure is to know love and give life again. Accepting the things that have happened and the things that we have done —accepting that of others — is simple evidence that none of us can make it on our own.

A Call to Failure
A poem by George Matheson

I had a call to a mission,
Signed in my heart and sealed,
And I felt my success was certain,
And the end seemed already revealed;
The sea was without a murmur,
Unwrinkled its even flow,
And I heard the master commanding,
And I was constrained to go.

But, out from the peaceful haven,
There woke a terrible storm,
And the waves around were in chaos,
And the land appeared without form
And I stretched my hands to the Father
And cried in a chilling fear-
“Didst not Thou pledge Thy presence!
And naught but failure is here!”

Then in the midst of the thunder
There rose a still, small voice,
Clear through the roar of the waters,
Deep through their deafening noise:
“Have I no calls to failure!
Have I no blessing for loss!
Must not the way to thy mission
Lie through the path of thy cross!”

It came as a revelation-
It was worth the price of the gale
To know that the souls that conquer
Must at first be the souls that fail
To know that where strength is baffled
I have reached the common ground
Where the highest meet with the lowly
Where the heart of man is found

O door of the heart’s communion
My Father gave me the key
When he called me out to the ocean,
And summoned the storm to me;
For the wings of the storm that smote me
Were the wings of humanity’s breast
As it moved on the face of the waters
And sighed for an ark of rest

Years have gone by since that sadness
And many an hour has come
When the storm in the ships of others
Has signaled me out from home;
Yet I never can see that signal
But I feel how much I owe
To the day that, when called to failure,
My steps were constrained to go.

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7 Responses to

  1. bobnearseattle says:

    Oh Father, help us overcome our fears of faith and failure.

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    Good Catch Pastor John: “Yes, failure has a job to do; it has a purpose, as long as you don’t stand in its way.” I’ve come to enjoy my many failures – it’s how I learn to get better!
    PS jus need a bit more patience’s… LOL 🙂

  3. Dennis King says:

    Thank you for these words. I needed to read it. I have a son who is estranged from me. I love him dearly and would die for him if I could. There is a pall of sorrow and regret over my soul almost every moment of everyday. I walk with Christ but there is that constant lump in the back of my throat. There is a finger always pointing at me telling me I am a failure and a hypocrite. “How dare you stand up for Jesus when you were such a miserable failure before” Although tempted to sit on the sidelines I am beginning to stand back up, forgiven and ready to get back in the game. Thank you brother for putting to words, the struggles I have been facing.

  4. cehall406 says:

    This came at the right and perfect time. Thank you for being (like God), always relevant.

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