Embracing Failure

by | Feb 1, 2018

Don’t hate me but I’m not an Eagles fan…or a Patriots fan.  I’m not sure what Sunday is going to be like since the Jets won’t be there (and haven’t been for quite a while).  During the playoffs, I had wanted the Vikings to get to the Superbowl.  It wasn’t for any great reason.  I didn’t think the Vikings would move on but then came Marcus Williams’ missed tackle.  Oh my goodness…did you see that? 

I played football in high school….well, I mostly watched from the sidelines and it looked pretty fun.  What I do remember from practice is our coach teaching us to get our face in the numbers and wrap up on every tackle.  Shortly after the Vikings/Saints game, Marcus Williams said “You can’t let it beat you down. I’m going to take it upon myself to do all that I can to never let that happen again. If it happens again, then I shouldn’t be playing.”  Exactly!  Marcus Williams failed.  I didn’t read all the articles but I’m sure there were plenty that embarrassed and humiliated him.  But Marcus had the right response when he recognized his failure.  Do everything to fix the mistake and don’t let it happen again.

I’m not sure if this is the general response we see today.  When there is failure we tend to see people who are quick to blame, whine, or justify their actions.  Failure hurts and no one likes how it feels.  Yet, everyone fails.  It’s a part of life.  What matters is how we handle it.  What matters, even more, is knowing that God is aware of it and may even be allowing it for a purpose we don’t quite understand…yet.  Think for a moment of all the authors and characters of Scripture.  It’s hard to think of many that did not face failure.  Moses, running from home and then facing Pharaoh who would not release his people over and over again.  He persevered and God came through.  David – lusting, murdering, and committing adultery. Yet, he saw his sin and God called him a man after His own heart.  Paul lost his reputation as one of the greatest leaders among Jews but brought the gospel throughout the known world and to the Gentiles.  God used their failures to bring about something better.  Maybe not more money or fame.  Maybe actually more difficulty and persecution.  Yet it seems they experienced circumstances that they didn’t regret and lives they were content with.

I often pray for God to get me through situations or for healing or for answers (or funding).  But time and time again, God allowed the failure and circumstance to bring about something better and a faith that continues to dig deeper roots.  In the moment, some of my difficult times were extremely hard and I did not understand.  In retrospect, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  I can’t imagine who I’d be without them.

How about you?  Have you faced failure in your life?  Could it be that God has allowed that failure for you to learn and experience something even better?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for peace and joy and those easier times but my experience has been that those times come when we embrace failure and don’t run from it or avoid it.  In fact, the peace and joy we receive is tremendously better than the “peace and joy” we may get temporarily from avoidance.

Here’s the point – when it comes to life in general – family, relationships, jobs, school – failure is going to come.  Embrace it; learn from it.  Persevere, make the necessary changes, and take action.  Trust that the Lord knows what He’s doing and though it may take time, He has something for you to learn.  Moses, Joshua, David, and Paul failed and overcame – to name a few.  Maybe life wasn’t how they imagined it but I can assure you they left nothing on the table – they had no regrets.

And I’m quite sure next time you see Marcus Williams make a hit, he’s going to put his face in the numbers and wrap up.

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