Posts Tagged ‘failure’

keep walkingAnd yet, there are times–in fact, many times, when our hearts are full of hope, our spirits are at rest, and our eyes are looking forward, but the way does not clear. And despite these words:

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; . . .

[Psalm 112:6-8, NIV]

We are shaken and we fear and we hesitate. That’s right. It happens.

I know these things for I lived them. I have walked with confidence and I have seen the glory of the Lord, like a true Shekhinah. I have shaken in the Presence and I have heard the voice of God. I have trusted when there was nothing to trust and I have known steadfastness. My faith is strong.

But that doesn’t mean I am not human. Nor does it mean that I do not fall in my faith. I weep and I call out to God, who has seemed to forsake me. I have walked the lonely corridor where no door is open and no light shines ahead.

Why do I write this? Because I was reminded yesterday in service, to keep going. Just keep going. There is something in the going that eventually reveals the underlying truth. Only when I have stopped, even briefly, have I seen the effects of fear grow roots. And to move, after stopping, gets harder and harder, the longer I delay.

I walk. I go. And my confidence in the Presence of Christ Jesus returns. First as a whisper, but eventually as a song.

Read Full Post »

Truly, whenever a door opens, it does seem that obstacles come flying across and even through the opening. Too often, when this happens to me, I find myself closing the door, fearful of potential attack and worse, for me, failure. A clear view of the way through does not necessarily mean it’s the right door.

I Corinthians 16:8-10
But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

There’s a Bible story about this situation [Numbers 13-21-30]: Moses sent a group of men to spy out the land of Canaan. When they got there, they found a beautiful land, “flowing with milk and honey.” But along with the verdant land, there were fortified cities and even giants. It all seemed too daunting to the scouts except for Caleb, who believed the opportunity was from God and therefore, worth the cost.

Opposition in the face of opportunity may also mean there is a sacrifice to attaining the goal. Our culture has adopted the “quick fix” way of doing things. If it doesn’t come easily, it’s not worth doing.

I have seen students leave college within one semester because it was so much more difficult they they expected. There was an initial goal but the demands were greater than their desire to overcome the challenges.

I remember when I was first getting into the theater business in Chicago back in the seventies. There weren’t as many professional and semi-professional theaters back then as there are now. As a result, most actors would venture into the modeling or acting in commercials or trade shows (in addition to waiting tables, of course). This process includes presenting oneself to an agency with a head shots and resumes and a hope that they might like you well enough to send you on an audition. The audition: that’s the opportunity.

But every audition would have hundreds of other starving, good-looking, perfect-for-the-part actors and actresses. If a “newbie” didn’t get a job from one or two of those auditions, the agency lost interest. They wanted instant success and verification that the “product” (actor) was a viable commodity.

How do you fight that kind of opposition? Intellectually, I always knew the answer: practice and perseverance. But emotionally, I couldn’t handle the disappointments, the losses, the failures. I didn’t look or sound like the “All-American” girl. Instead of leveraging who I was, I kept trying to be someone I wasn’t. I actually gave in to the opposition.

Opposition builds strength and like fire, separates the dross from the pure gold. It’s a good thing.

God help me accept opposition and to stand firm in its face, to learn what I must learn and then to forge ahead.

Read Full Post »

Acts 8:18-19
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Poor Simon… he just didn’t get it. Here he had been following Philip and the other new Samaritan believers around and he was happy as a clam. That is, until Peter and John show up and take the next step… praying for the Holy Spirit to come upon those new believers.

Something dramatic must have happened. We are not told what. It could have been the speaking in other tongues as with the disciples, it could have been tongues of fire or wind or just an outpouring of great power. We will never know. But we do know that Simon the former sorcerer was impressed and all his old habits and desires and power came into play. Everything in him was saying, “gotta have it.”

He did not realize that this laying on of hands was a gift. It was a gift that came with devotion. It was a gift that only the Giver could choose to give or not give. And so, Simon made a mistake and lusted for it.

I have made Simon’s mistake. I have coveted the giftings of others. I have wished for the ministries of others. I have dreamed of God using me as a healer or a prophet. I have inwardly negotiated for more power.

God forgive me.

The old ways die hard. One of my besetting sins is a desire for fame. Generally, I have that well covered by grace. But there are days when it slips out like a little demon and sits on my shoulder spouting long monologues about recognition, notoriety, success and fans! Like the love of money, fame corrupts the soul.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: