Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Failure

We never failed to fail, it was the easiest thing to do.
(Crosby Stills and Nash. “Southern Cross.” Daylight Again. Atlantic Records. 1982)

Do you ever feel like a failure? Most of us at some time or another have felt that way. For some, it seems that their entire life is one big failure. If you have ever felt like a failure at anything, then you will appreciate this story.

James was the son of a failure. Every career his father tried, failed in some way. The failure gene must have been passed on to James. James was sent to boarding school at 10, ran away to sea at 14, and later worked as a minister, miner, photographer, organist and songwriter. None of his ventures were any more successful than his father’s, at least not in his lifetime.

It is very possible you have heard the story of this family. The story was brought to national attention by Robert Fulghum in his book, It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It. He got the father and son mixed up, but told a wonderful story of how a man, who by the world’s standards, lived and died a failure. Fulghum writes, In one very important sense, [James] Pierpont was not a failure. Every year, come December, we celebrate his success. We carry in our hearts and minds a lifelong memorial to him. It’s a song. Not about Jesus or angels or even Santa Claus. It’s a terribly simple song about the simple joy of whizzing through the cold white dark of winters gloom in a sleigh pulled by one horse. And with the company of friends, laughing and singing all the way. No more. No less. “Jingle Bells.” [James] Pierpont wrote “Jingle Bells.”


How many times do we write off failures in our lives, only to find that God uses them for either our benefit or the benefit of others? For example, in 1974, a man named Arthur Fry was singing in his church choir. He liked to use slips of paper, to mark the pages in his hymnal, to find the pages faster. However, the slips of paper kept falling out. He knew he couldn’t tape them because that would damage the paper and paperclips were too cumbersome.

Mr. Fry remembered that a colleague of his, named Dr. Spencer Silver, who worked for the 3M chemical company, had been trying to develop a new glue. He remembered that his friend had been very frustrated, because the glue that he developed didn’t stick very well, and had labeled it a failure. However, when Mr. Fry tried it on his slips of paper in his hymnal, he found that it stuck enough to keep those slips from falling out, but not enough to damage the pages. From that perceived failure, Post-It Notes was born.

This year, Post-It Notes is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its nationwide launch. Since 1980, those little square note pads with “just enough” glue, has become a household word. Many people, even in this age of Blackberry’s, i-Phones, and other high-tech gadgetry, have no idea what they would do without the Post-It Notes. What began as a perceived failure, changed the way people remember appointments, communicate, and in some cases, decorate their cubicle or computer monitors.

What is there in your life that you consider a failure? Perhaps you have done something so wrong, that you think you failed God and He could never forgive you. Be assured that God loves you. He can and will forgive you. Not only will He forgive your failures, but He can use those failures to guide you into His will. Maybe through your failure, you will be stronger and able to help someone else, who is going through something similar.

Read the words of King David as recorded in Psalm 103:8-14. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. God forgives us and remembers that we are nothing but dust. He created you and knows that you will make bad choices and mistakes. But just like an earthly father, God will not turn us away.

Isn’t that wonderful news! My prayer for you this week is that you will receive and acknowledge God’s forgiveness in your life. When you do, you will no longer feel like a failure, but as a forgiven and restored child of the God of Heaven!

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit….We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:1, 28 NKJV)

1 comment:

Janet said...

Thanks Stacy for you blog. It meant a lot to me to read this about failure today. Thanks for reminding me that there is no failure greater than the Love of Jesus.