You may not believe it, but something that gives me joy is my ability to fail: when I come to that place in a situation where I’ve tried everything I know to try, I’ve been creative in the solutions I thought would work, I’ve read the books and they didn’t help, and the only thing I know to do then is to cry out from the depths of my heart to God, saying, “I’ve done all I can do and none of it has worked. Will you fix this for me?”
You are probably wondering why that would bring joy. I was wondering about that myself recently, as I said those words to the Lord while laying in bed, about to fall asleep. There was a tiny smile on my face even as I prayed in desperation and relief; desperation because I had reached the end of my ability to make the situation better, but relief because I knew that in that moment of releasing it to God, I was making room for His supernatural intervention to bring change.
The knowledge that the result of my cry of desperation was actually the best thing for me comes from years of experiencing failure in trying to fix things. The words, “I have made a mess of things, Lord; please come fix it for me.”, were the ones I spoke twenty-one years ago that started my journey back into a relationship with Him. Up until then I had wilfully been walking away from Him, making my choices for my life, facing those consequences, and choosing to take step after step leading away from God.
Then there was a straw that was too much for the camel’s back, and I broke down one night. The failure was too much to bear alone. In desperation, I lifted my eyes to heaven, not knowing what would happen if I did, but believing that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit would come to my rescue.
WIth that heart cry of desperation and hope, the steps away from God stopped, and although there wasn’t repentance right away, I began to make the turn back to Him. Seventeen months after that, I prayed another simple prayer in the darkness of my rural home, “Lord, I’m ready to come home.” I strongly believe that it was the first prayer that made the second prayer possible. Desperation and acknowledgement of personal failure are not always bad things.
Because that was what started my real, personal Christianity journey, I’ve returned to it many times since then. Whenever I reach the end of myself in a matter and I cry out to the Lord, He responds. Many times, that response doesn’t look like anything I would have requested, but it is always what is best.
This is my answer to your question about how failure is something that can bring joy and relief: vulnerability is required for there to be an acknowledgement of personal failure. God does His best work in us when our walls are down in our relationship with Him. Protective walls that are constructed when we are striving and succeeding cause us to look to ourselves and our capabilities, and keep the Holy Spirit at bay. However, the opposite is also true: when we tear down the walls, declaring in desperation that we need His help and His alone, we give our permission for His will to be done in our lives, whatever that looks like.
Although I wish that we would all coast through life with ease and happiness, I know that isn’t a place of growth. Real growth and change start with our failures and our cries of desperation to God. And having repeatedly learned this lesson the hard way, I’ve come to welcome failure because I know that it brings with it the possibility of real success.
“I have made a mess of things, Lord; please come fix it for me!”
©Debbie Mendoza, August 2021
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