I failed. Yes, I have experienced failures over the years. I have missed the mark. I have fallen short. Yet in God’s goodness, I found grace in the midst all of the failures.
One of the most important lessons I learned in life as an individual and as a pastor is that failure is to be expected and learned from. I know that failure happens to all but I can only speak for myself. I have misspoken, misstepped, and disappointed others and myself in more ways than I can explain here. To be honest I admit failing does hurt. It hurts me and it hurts others. I understand why most of us are afraid of it. We are afraid of failure because we fear what others may say about us. We are afraid of what we may lose. More often it’s a poor judgment or simply the bad execution of an idea. It can also be because of our selfishness and our pride. For some, it may even be a moral failure.
However, I have found that there is much grace to be found in failure. Actually, not in our failure but in Christ who works in us and through us both in our successes and failures. The good news is that God’s grace covers all.
Just how do we find grace in our failures? While failure persuades us to be learners from the experience and from others, it also brings us to a point of humility. It wakes us up. We are reminded that we have so much to learn. Failures point us to the one who is truly righteous and holy. God is at work in our lives. We might not have accomplished what we wanted yet God helps us see that He will accomplish the work He is doing in us. Even in our failures, He tells us we are his workmanship and we belong to him.
Most importantly, our failures remind us that we are not the Savior. We are not God. We are not the deliverer or the savior. Failures teach us these. When I was new in ministry, I may be what people call “Mr. Fix it.” I thought I could solve problems better than others. I was wrong. In fact, it was this attitude that doomed me to fail in many occasions.
In studying the scriptures, I learned that God does not fix us like we fix things. We are not things that He uses. Mainly, he is not concerned with the moment or the temporary as we want him to be. God is God. He is eternal. Therefore, he cares for our eternity. We need saving more than fixing. We need God even from our best efforts. In short, failures teach us that there is an infinitely better way than how we do things. The better way is Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior.
Yes, we will fail. A lot. But our failures do not define who we are. We are defined by what Jesus has done on the cross. He saved us from all our failures, sins and all. Whatever failures we did, we are God’s beloved sons and daughters. Philippians 3: 13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NIV).