When failure brings doubt

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Do you ever begin to question God, asking Him what He’s up to? Abraham did!  In Genesis 12, God gave him an amazing promise of many descendants, that he would be a blessings to the whole world. Years past and Abraham was still without a son! In the 15th chapter, he asks God this – “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son?” (Genesis 15:2, NLT)  I think most of us have been in that place. We think we know God’s promise but there seems to be no way from where we are to that place of His blessings. What did Abraham do?  “He believed God!”  So must we.

If we attempt to anything in life, especially in the work of God, we may find ourselves dealing with situations that look like failure.  Our doubts will be fueled by the half-truths that are shared by well-intentioned Christian. Many insist that if we are living in faith, we will go from success to victory in unbroken triumph! We don’t. Nobody does.

We love to recount the story of Jesus’ visit to his friends in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.  We imagine Peter’s bold step over the side of the boat where he walked on the water, too.  It’s a glorious story of faith, until it isn’t!  Peter failed moments after he started. So, did God throw him away? Not at all. More remarkable than Peter’s short trip on the water, is the faithfulness of Jesus who caught him before he sank. We love to tell of Paul’s travels around the empire planting churches. Yet that story is incomplete if we do not remember that he got thrown out of most cities he visited, knowing rejection and disappointment again and again. He spent almost as much time in jail as he did teaching in marketplaces. The most amazing thing is that he didn’t just give up and go home!  In fact, some of his best writing to us comes from those times of imprisonment.

Paul acknowledged the desperation he felt. Feel the emotion in his words. “We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.”  (2 Corinthians 1:8, NLT)   Like Abraham before him, Paul learned to lean unto God. In his moment of doubt, the Lord spoke to Abram and that man responded with faith that leaned into God. And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord declared him righteous because of his faith.” (Genesis 15:6, NLT)

Are you wrestling with disappointment? Have you heard the promise of God only to find yourself frustrated? Brent Crowe reminds us of an important thing. “There is a type of failure that attempts something that is consistent with God’s desired will and yet comes up short or doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. This is the type of failure that God doesn’t look at and go… ‘You’ve failed and you’ve sinned’… Number one I think it pleases him.  Number two, I think he views it through the lens of sanctification and we’re being built up in the faith when we attempt things for God’s glory.” – Brent Crowe

God chose to include failure on the pages of the Bible. Instead of giving inspirational stories about perfect heroes, He told us about real people who lived in faith mixed with failure. If we look deeply, we will be astounded by the grace of God that finds people at their worst. We celebrate David’s love for God and his victories and they are ever more amazing when we also include his violent nature, his terrible moments of adultery and even murder!  We admire about Abraham’s faith, which was remarkable, but tend to forget that God loved and used him even when he got it very wrong, fathering a son with Hagar, lying about Sarah to Pharaoh. Samson was a hero and a heel!  He led Israel to great victories but could not overcome his weakness for pretty women.  Still God’s grace persisted.

So, am I excusing faithlessness or failure? Not for a moment.  Our desire must be to know the Presence of God, to walk in the Spirit, and to do those things that make His Name great.  But, we will fail and others will fail us. What then?  Will we give up, go home, and look for another place for joy? Or, will we love Him, accept His grace, and give it where necessary?

The word from the Word is from a letter of Paul that I love.  In our worst failures there is a divine conjunction – “But God…”   He “is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms—all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus. God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” (Ephesians 2:4-8, NLT)

Lord lead us to life in the middle of the messes that are a part of this broken world. Amen

__________

Even If

(Mercy Me encourages us to lean on our Father)

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now oh right now I just can’t

 It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame like I am right now

 I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

 They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have right now

 But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

 I know the sorrow and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

 You’ve been faithful
You’ve been good all of my days
Jesus I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You care 

I hope in You alone ooh

 It is well with my soul
It is well it is well with my soul

Bart Millard | Ben Glover | Crystal Lewis | David Arthur Garcia | Tim Timmons

© 2017 D Soul Music (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

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