Failing with Flair (click to comment)


Have you ever failed at something? I sure have. Attempting to sail through life without failing is like trying to eat tomato soup with chop sticks. During a 1978 firemen’s strike in England, the British Army took over their duties and responded to a call by an elderly lady in South London whose cat needed rescuing. The lady was so grateful when they rescued the cat that she invited the heroes in for tea. Driving off later, they waved goodbye, then ran over her cat.

Nobody wants to fail. Who walks out of their front door in the morning thinking, “I sure hope I get to file for bankruptcy today. And if my boss lays me off and I flunk that IQ test, I shall throw a party and invite all my former friends.” No, failure isn’t something we seek after. But so many of us refuse to live free from the power of failure. The Bible is full of stories of saints who failed. Peter vowed to follow Jesus, then denied Him with an oath. Moses stuttered, Thomas doubted, Zaccheus didn’t measure up. David was guilty of adultery and murder, then referred to as ‘a man after God’s own heart.’ Why? Because David knew where to go with his failure.

When the prophet Nathan confronted him about his sin, David prayed, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin….Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51). “Failure doesn’t come in the falling,” David might say, “It comes in not getting back up.” Consider what must have seemed like the most colossal failure of all time. As Jesus preached the message of God’s Kingdom, lives were transformed, the sick were healed, the dead were raised and the world was being turned on its head.

Then the unthinkable happened. Jesus was murdered, darkness fell, His disciples fled and all was lost. Or was it? The greatest failure ever was God’s greatest victory in disguise. Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin, Satan and death itself.

Remember this: One of the enemy’s most effective tactics to help us lose our joy is to keep us preoccupied with our failures. Are you weighed down beneath failure today? Lay it down. Look up. Move on. Your failure could very well be a springboard to success. And if you’re backing out of your driveway, watch out for cats.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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