I’m not a champ.
In fact, most would say I’m a failure.
After all, I’m a middle-aged woman who walked away from a lucrative IT career to spend time with family and pursue ministry.
Thing is, ministry is better described as Endless Pouring of One’s Soul Without Compensation. And my family? Well, now they’re tired of my face.
So here I am years later. I’m hip-deep in a pile of dirty dishes, trying to feel better about how far I haven’t come. And my husband emerges. I wonder if he hates me. If he doesn’t, he will.
I’m not alone in feeling like a waste. Statistics say our generation has chopped our lifespans shorter than those of the previous one due to suicide and substance abuse. Evidently we believe sedation from failure is worth an early retirement to the grave.
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But in my writing-induced bouts of self-loathing, Christ opens my eyes to the upside of disappointment. Believe it or not, there is one. Here’s what He’s taught me:
1. We need to want His healing from failure. We don’t just need His deliverance to success. We have to want it. Christ knows we need it. Problem is, we sometimes don’t want it.
During my dark walks through the Valley of Failure, something weird happens. I start to feel safe. Immune. Protected. I can’t do that thing You’re asking, I tell God. I’m a failure. Don’t You remember?
And that becomes my excuse for every God-directive.
Because if I accept His healing, scary things begin to happen. My participation is then required. My faith is tested and I must once again take risks.
And who wants that, when instead we could insulate ourselves from life because we’re so-called failures?
When Christ asks if we want to be healed, He’s really asking if we want the freedom to win again.Tweet
Remember the guy Jesus healed? He was bed-bound most his thirty-eight years. Christ approached him with a strange question.
“Do you want to be healed?”
It seems absurd. We assume, after all, the man desired wholeness. Who wants to be forced to flop on a grimy mat for four decades?
But Jesus didn’t simply ask if he desired to walk again. There were deeper issues. His real questions were:
…Do you want freedom to win again?
…Can you handle the responsibility of engagement?
…Are you willing to be on the hook? To be free from life inoculation? Or,
…Do you want to keep hiding behind your disability?
We know the rest of the story. Jesus delivered him (John 5).
You see, Christ finds us in our failure. He leaves ninety-nine to seek the one who wallows in the pig pen of disillusion (Matthew 18:12). And when He find us, He asks:
Do you want to be healed?
2. Failure drives us to succeed. Not by the world’s standards. Not by following Zen Master’s Ten Steps to Instant Billionaire Status. But to Jesus’ formula for victory.
There is a formula, by the way. King David was wildly triumphant as Israel’s first true king only because God was with Him (1 Samuel 18:14). And God says He’ll grant success if we seek to understand, meditate upon, and carry out His Word (Proverbs 2; Joshua 1:8). This isn’t the latest self-help method, Friend. These are instructions from the Author and Finisher.
Only when we’re tired of fulfilling Satan’s plan for us will we seek Christ’s.Tweet
But we seek God’s way only when we’re desperate. When we won’t stand another day on life’s sidelines. When we reject Satan’s plan and instead step into Christ’s, Who from the beginning desired we would win.
We’ll do anything for victory when we’re sick of defeat. Jesus knows. So He guides our gazes to the only way that works: His.
On the night he was elected president, then-Senator Obama delivered a stirring speech. I’m not endorsing anyone here. I’m speaking of a movement.
He told of a national mentality which historically whispered to the oppressed underclass: no you can’t.
No you can’t fulfill your dreams.
No you can’t overcome.
No you can’t win.
Thing is, they were done. Finished being silenced. Through with being relegated to the depths. Done waiting to die.
I’m convinced many Christians now face the same crossroads. Somehow, Satan persuaded us to renounce our crowns for all these years. Until now, we’ve declared his mantra: it’s too hard. No we can’t.
But Christ demands victory. And He’ll allow us to nearly drown before tossing us the rescue rope of success. Because our acceptance of help isn’t dictated by need. Instead, it’s driven by desire.
And Christ knew all along we could do it, just as He knew His crew could feed 5,000 from one measly portion. You do it! He told the disciples (Matthew 14:16).
And so He tells us. Overcome? Yes we can.
Pluck folks from the broad road and guide them to the narrow Way? Yes we can.
Win at life every day? Break free from Satan’s grasp? Pummel Hell’s gates? Conquer once and for all?
Yes, Church. Yes we can.
Diane Watt teaches the Word. A student of God, she seeks excellence for King Jesus. When she’s not typing you can find her seated on a bicycle or in the kitchen. But not at the same time.
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