Fridays with Susan...
I've had occasion of late to think a lot about "failure", especially in the last few days. More than occasion. I was just about to say "God dropped me into the middle of a situation..." but that wouldn't be very accurate. Truth is, I concocted my own recipe for failure. I chose the course that would lead me there, I adopted the fatal attitude, I ignored the signs along the way. And then "suddenly", the dominoes began to fall. I was hoping they would stop falling a lot earlier, but no, when God takes us through the valley of the shadow of death-to-self, he doesn't go halfway. He did an excellent job of exposing what needed to come out in order for me to become that much more conformed to his image. Painful? You bet. Because this time it was a cause of hurt to others and put those dear people in situations which were difficult too. Am I going to confess my sins here? I think I just did. The details of the situation are not so important to share, just trust me, it was a whopper. What I am learning here in the valley with the Good Shepherd is far too good to keep to myself.
I have always responded to failure by beating myself up. Really badly. I almost went back to my old ways this time. I could actually feel myself being pulled into the pit where resides some old dragons I once kept company with and knew incredibly well. The biggest ugliest monster there is called, "Victim". He hangs out with "Blame", "Excuses", "Self Pity", "Misunderstood" and "Justification", along with a few more slimy creatures.
Failing isn't fun. It isn't meant to be. (Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. Proverbs 20:30).
Our minds will begin to scheme and think every which way about how it might help to get out of it. But that is the way of fools. Wisdom leads to a different course. (A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. Proverbs 28:13).
There is the temptation to quit, of course. (Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14)
You're tempted to feel like it's all over, that there is no hope at all. (Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that's the end of them. Proverbs 24:16)
General Robert E. Lee said: “We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters.”
I don't know what greater disaster God prevented me from falling into this week, but I sure am grateful that he did.
God is good.
All the time.