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A Friend Called Failure

Weekly Devotionals

A Friend Called Failure

Again, I want to share with you a passage and a reflection from the book, The Slow Sacred, by Alicia Britt Chole.  

A Friend Called Failure (ch. 44, pgs. 199-202)

According to Alicia, there are two types of failure: 1) ethically neutral failures and 2) sin-induced failure.  We should be grateful for both because failure, in its many forms, is often one of the wisest teachers in the growth process – if we let it speak.

  1. Ethically neutral failures, such as professional failures or rejections have been gifts to me.  The unanswerable questions keep me focused on obedience – instead of fruit – as the true tell of both my love for God and my spiritual health.  The inherent disappointment keeps me tender to God’s Spirit and small in my own eyes, both of which safeguard my soul.
  2. Sin-induced failures: for the closed doors my self-protection triggered and the embarrassment my pain-filled self-defensiveness invited.  But I am grateful for the failures that resulted from my sin.  Why? Because denial has no healing power.  Sin-induced failure is like a fever.  Its purpose is to alert us to the presence of something that needs spiritual attention.  This second type of failure is a manifestation of – not a creator of – sin.  Such failures reveal internal dysfunction and force us to pause and take responsibility for what is within us.  Whether in our bodies or our souls, ignoring failure can be lethal.

Reflect on the following passage from Luke 22: 31- 33

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.

Imagine yourself in Peter’s place and hear Jesus’ words from two different moments in time: 1) as the sincere, confident Peter prior to Jesus’ arrest, and 2) as the sincere, broken Peter after denying Jesus thrice.  Think of how Peter might have interpreted these words differently pre-failure and post-failure.

May this bless you~