The Art of Failure

Yesterday I failed my third exam this week. By failed I mean I got a 50% or less. I have one quiz and one exam tomorrow.

I look at my notes I’m about to study and all I think is If you study you’re just going to fail. My heart sinks so I click on a facebook link and mindlessly browse searching for something to justify my not studying. I consider making a post about my failures to communicate my emotion to the people around me: hoping for sympathy, affirmation, or encouragement. Something. But I decide not to because I knew if my mom (who frequently reads my facebook page) would quickly call and try to tell me that I need to be spending more time studying and less time “Goding” I might experience the doubt whether living my life for God is something I should really be doing: the world says no.  After 2 or 3 minutes of scrolling I come to my senses, snap out of the zone I was in, and glance back at my notes. My heart sinks again. 

“Trust me in failures” God says.

God is glorifying himself. I tell myself reaching back to the truth that he uses everything for his kingdom. Even the bad, even the ugly. My sanity is contingent upon this truth: it’s the only thing that gives me hope in suffering. I can’t see the glory. What glory will God bring out of failure? 

I asked myself the other day: Could I trust God even to the point of dropping out of school? 

Secretly I fear, that is life I’m leading. That I’m going to keep seeking God, devoting my time to him, but that means that even the most logical thing I think I’m doing is going to be taken from me. What safety blanket will I have? I irrationally think about where my life would have to go if that happened: moving home (which isn’t entirely as scary as I used to think), being homeless (like I said: irrational), having to get a job (hard work is hard), moving away (leaving people behind), committing to a place to live (setting myself up for heart break). I see the motives that kept me from changing my desires before: is God actually taking this from me? 

“No.” he says ” Trust me in your failures.”

I trust you, but failure still hurts. I’m doing my best, I’m giving it what I’ve got… but it’s not enough. 

“If failure still hurts, you’re not trusting me.”


“If failure was all you are, I can see why it hurts. If Christ only resulted in death, it would be failure, but it results in life.”

Matthew 26 Peter says he would never disown Jesus, but does so three times. What failure. What sadness. He wept bitterly. Christ dies: what a failure that must have seemed like for the people who loved Jesus, the weight of letting one another down must have lingered on their hearts…. luckily we know the end. We know that this event that must have seemed like failure to so many results in life. We have not only failure, but we have also life. We are not our failures, but citizens of heaven because of the failures of the people who’s hearts were hard to see Christ, because of the people who disregarded the truth, because of the people who’s own desires got in the way, because of sin, because of shortcomings: we have life.

“God has bound us all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all”
“My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness”

God is glorified in my life because even in my weakness, even in my failure He is still my hope and He is still working. He is not bound by my weakness, but I am set free from mine by his strength.


2 thoughts on “The Art of Failure

  1. teresarose October 25, 2012 / 5:53 PM

    Jeremiah 17:5-9
    This is what the Lord says “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.

    He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

    But BLESSED is the man who TRUSTS in the LORD, whose confidence is in HIM. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
    It does not fear when the heat comes; it’s leaves are always green. It has NO WORRIES in a YEAR OF DROUGHT and never FAILS TO BEAR FRUIT.”

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