“[F]or though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” — Proverbs 24:16
One of the former Olympic athletes I follow on social media recently posted a highlight reel. But it wasn’t the kind of highlight reel that you’d think, filled with glory-moments and accolades. Rather, it was a compilation of all the times he stumbled and fell. He commented that, for all the times people witnessed his success, there were far more times they never saw his failure, but that very same failure was, in reality, the seedbed for his achievements. He even wrote a book about how he “failed” his way to success. He wanted people to understand what went on behind the scenes and to take a life lesson that your failures are your friends if you learn to see them as such.
This got me thinking of how we often put together our own highlight reels. We talk of all the times we proverbially stood on the podium of success, the medal of glory hung around our neck. That’s what we want others to see about us — the good parts. The ones worthy of admiration and applause. We usually bury talk of all the times we went 0-for-4 at the plate. Or the times we came in last place. Or the times we got benched. But really, those were the times that shaped who we became. So why are we so afraid to bring them to light?
One thing I’ve always loved about the Bible is how it never hides anything. Even the best individuals in Scripture are profiled in raw honesty — their success as well as their greatest mistakes and sins are laid out for all to see and learn from. David was a man after God’s own heart, but he still committed adultery and had Uriah murdered so he could marry Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). Peter was a loyal and committed follower of Christ, but he still denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62).
The Bible’s pages are filled with the testimonies of people’s highs and also their lows. But the reason even the stories of great failure are included is so the grace of God would be better seen in their moments of weakness. That they would someday look back and see that their own effort or skill didn’t obtain them their success, but instead the mercy and blessing of the God they served did.
Maybe the world needs to hear more about our downfalls and our struggles than just our best moments. Maybe our highlight reels should include a bit more about all the times we stumbled and fell along the way … for perspective’s sake. Maybe it’s true that you actually fail your way to success in the sense that you only became strong because you fell and had to keep getting back up. Maybe the power of God in your life is truly more evident in your incapability than in your capability.
Maybe befriending failure is the beginning of a life lived solely for God.
— Katherine Singer
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