In part one of this series I reflected on some of the ways we typically respond to failure and noted that the gospel is not that we never fail, but that God meets us in and through our failures. In part 2 of this series, I looked at failure as an opportunity for us to find our true identity in God and failure as an opportunity for God to free us from the shame that plagues us. In this final reflection, I will explore the invitation to abandon ourselves to the Lord as a response to failure.
When failure comes crashing down upon us, when our efforts seem to come to nothing, we are invited to abandon ourselves completely to the Lord. In times of failure, we experience our weakness and our need for God. We were not created to be heroic individuals. We were not created to be heroic communities. We were created to be humble people who give ourselves completely to God.
Unfortunately, when we are experiencing failure, we typically don’t feel like giving ourselves to God. We believe that we should be giving ourselves to God in success. When we have failed we don’t believe that God would want us in our state of failure. Why would God want damaged goods like us? Who are we in failure that God would desire us? We would prefer to make a glorious offering of ourselves. And yet God loves us and welcomes us even in our failure. We are invited to give ourselves completely to God.
Many of us are aware that we don’t give ourselves completely to God, we may desire to, we may try to, but we know that there are significant parts of ourselves that are not given over to God. We don’t see that most of what we hold back from God are the parts of ourselves we are not proud of, the parts we try to suppress or eliminate from our lives. We don’t give our failure to God. We don’t give our fear, our doubt, our anger, our resentment to the Lord.
What would happen if we gave these parts of ourselves completely to God? For one thing, we would be a lot more given over to God. Secondly, God would rejoice and delight to have these beloved parts of ourselves brought back and offered to him. We often underestimate how much God loves us, that God loves all of us, and that God particularly loves these parts of ourselves we have held back.
Giving our failure to God also allows God to be at work in those areas we have so long withheld from him. God wants to redeem all parts of us, bring each part individually and together as a whole person, into the healing light of his love and grace. What freedom we receive when we offer ourselves more completely to him, allowing his love and grace to allow us to accept our own humanity, our true identity as beloved children of God.
And so I leave you with this question… In what way is the Lord inviting you to offer your failure to him?
© Dale Gish 2019. All Rights Reserved.