The Blessing of Failure

The Blessing of Failure


“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” — Micah 7:8
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. However, the basketball great has this to say:  “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life.”
Indeed, Jordan’s career has involved a lot of failings. However, Jordan is no failure. The quote doesn’t stop there. Jordan concludes with this:  “I’ve failed over and over in my life . . . and that is why I succeed.”
A few thousand years earlier, the prophet Micah said, “Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” The Sages make a slight change to the verse in order to explain to us what Micah really meant:  “Because I have fallen, I will rise. Because I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” Like the athlete, the prophet recognized that success doesn’t just follow failure; success comes because of our many failings.
This was a powerful message for the children of Israel as Micah warned that they were about to find themselves in very difficult times. It was inevitable. The nation had become irreparably corrupt. The nation that had been instructed to become a light unto the nations had become dark and murky.
Israel had a mission, and she utterly failed. But that was not the end of her story. Micah warned the enemies of Israel not to gloat. Because Israel’s failure would be the secret of her success.
Many years of exile followed. Part of Israel returned to her homeland only to be exiled once more. Thousands of years of persecution and oppression dominated the nation’s experience. She would fall many times over and remain in darkness for many years.
Yet, in those difficult moments, she would find God. In the clutches of evil, she would understand goodness. Exile was not just a punishment for Israel; it was her education. Israel emerged stronger, better, and ready to fulfill the role that is her destiny.
We live in a society that worships success, but hates failure. The problem is that you can’t have one without another.  As the accomplished trumpet player Wynton Marsalis put it, “If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying.” You can’t reach success without travelling the road of failure.
With each mistake made, the question should be, “What can we learn from this failure?” and then use that knowledge to celebrate success.


http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/the-blessing-of-failure

"The Great Have To"

[Jesus said,] “So don't be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:7 nlt

Key Thought

We sometimes fail to realize that Nicodemus is the ultimate good guy -- he is the best of the best. He is a religious leader and teacher. He has come to Jesus out of darkness to find light. He has noticed what Jesus has said and done and believes that the only way Jesus could do those things is because he has come from God. But knowing and saying the right things about Jesus are not what make a person a true follower of Jesus, a disciple, a real Christian. If Nicodemus, the best of the best, has to be "born again," then so do all the rest of us! Being born again is the great essential, the great "have to," we all must experience. So where are you? Have you been born of "water and the Spirit"? Have you been born of God? Have you been born again?

Today's Prayer

O Father, thank you for my "new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade"! Thank you for the cleansing power and the new life that comes from the Holy Spirit. I praise you in Jesus' name. Amen.
The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him.Mark 1:10 msg

Key Thought

Winning the Super Bowl, winning the World Cup, winning Wimbledon, winning the British Open, winning the Daytona 500, and winning the World Series are considered lifetime achievements for those involved in the respective sports. Yet none of these even approaches the significance of this moment. Jesus, with droplets of water from the Jordan River running down his face, is honored in a powerful way by God. More than just the words of affirmation that Jesus receives, heaven is torn open -- a sign of a world changing event. The Holy Spirit of God comes in a visible way to show heaven's approval. Jesus is recognized as awesome: not awesome in the sense of some great athletic achievement, but as one who is worthy of awe and reverence. God the Father and God the Spirit show the majesty of God the Son. The new age of God's grace is signaled by the heavens opening and the power and peace of this grace is seen in the coming of the Spirit.

Today's Prayer

O God, revealing yourself as Father and Son and Spirit, thank you for your majesty -- your glory, holiness, and might. Thank you as well for your proximity -- your willingness to be incarnated in Jesus and being present again in us through your Holy Spirit. Forgive us -- even more, please forgive me -- for not reverencing you as you deserve. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.