Failure to Success

Little Joey sat idly by, staring at the blank paper in front of him. In the past, he would have long since abandoned the assignment and settled for a failing grade. After all, wouldn’t it just confirm people’s expectations of him; of the things spoken over him in days gone by? “You aren’t good enough”, “You aren’t smart enough”, “You will never amount to more…” Ahhh, their words were still trying to hold him back. “Sometimes giving in seems easier than pressing forward…..”, he thought, “change is so hard!” But Mrs. Abernathy was different, she believed in him. She told him different things; saw a future in him that others didn’t seem able to see. Her belief in him was changing him; it made him more capable of seeing himself through her eyes. It made him press on and continue to move forward.

During his time in ministry, Jesus was the ultimate example of seeing in others what they didn’t see in themselves. He called fisherman and tax collectors to full time ministry to serve alongside him, the Papa of all ministry leaders. The stakes were high, the cost was immense, and yet he chose the simple of the world to partner with Him in laying the foundation for the future church. He saw in them what they and others didn’t see… he saw where they could be. He saw their strengths, hidden below the surface waiting to be discovered and used for His Father’s glory. And even in the messiness of transformation, he continued to believe in them.

Peter’s denial of his leader was about as messy as leadership mistakes can get. If anyone should have felt they had messed up too much, felt unworthy, or could have fallen back on old personal beliefs or words spoken over him, it was Peter. Yet Jesus continued to see the same future in Peter and after his ressurection, he returned to reinstate him (Luke 22: 31 – 34; 54 – 62, John 21). Jesus knew failure was a part of the process, as was his continued belief in Peter’s future. Peter’s failure and determination to move forward through the Love of the one who believed in Him, catapulted him to becoming one of the greatest leaders of the New Testament – A Rock.

Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you”; And Jeremiah 29:11, says “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” God created us in His image, and He believes in each of us and desires for us to press on. In the midst of our messy transformations, our failures, our hurts and our successes – he still wants to use us to fulfill the role he planned us for. He wants us to never give up, never give in, and never go backward; but instead, to keep moving forward.

Little Joey put his pencil down. A slow smile crept across his face. Ahhh – the feeling of a job well done was beginning to become more familiar to him. He looked forward to the look on Mrs. Abernathy’s face when she read his paper. He had no doubt, she would be pleased. After all, she saw the best in him and expected no less. And, even if there were corrections that needed to be made, her unconditional love made the possibility of failing on the way to success, less daunting. It kind of reminded him of the story he heard in his friend’s Sunday School Class. “Mrs. Abernathy,” he thought, “Loves me just like Jesus.”

Copyright © 2010 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved.

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