It’s looking at you in the face isn’t it ? Right smack dab in the middle of your face……. ‘Failure’…. ‘You are a failure, you failed’ And the old tune rhythmically plays over and over again in our heads as we ponder why we missed the boat, why ‘it’ went up in smoke and how in the world we could possibly redeem ‘it’ ourselves. Or maybe we feel that we have so inexplicitly messed up that not even God himself could take our current situation and make it anew. The thing we didn’t accomplish, the bridges burned, what didn’t happen, what should have happened. The mistake we made that in our mind is unrepairable; we flounder there, we flounder in failure. We fall flat, we fall short and often times we fall through.
Just the other day I found myself holding five passports in my hand each stamped with life experiences and journeys that I never would have expected or anticipated. Emptying out my apartment in Sweden, I looked down at my hands holding my passports and streams of tears started running down my cheeks. These important little booklets represented the last ten years of my life. Stamps represented choices when I didn’t listen to God because I had only listened to myself. They represented some years of the ‘Prodical Alicia’ doing life on her own terms and not on God’s. They represented five times I have had to apply for a visa because I had to move countries again; or the time I changed my name from my maiden one to my married one, and more times with more passports to change my name back again from my married one to my maiden name again. Five passports, five reminders of how I have floundered in what I assumed was life’s inadequacy.
However, in the very place of contemplating my past struggles; in my empty apartment, with the warm tears running down my cheeks, I heard the still hushed voice of the Holy Spirit. With a gentle whisper in my heart and soul, I looked down at the passports in my hand and I just heard, ‘Failure is not an Option, No, failure is NOT THE option’. And there in the quietness of where the ‘rubber meets the road’, I realized failure was in fact not the option because the simple truth was; The Cross was. My future was grace and the road ahead was coated in an embraceable and tangible redemption, and though I was scared about what the future could hold, I knew that my loving God was the one who was holding it. I knew I was returning home after all these years not as a failure but as one walking in New Life in Christ. The road ahead though unassured was secured in grace, rooted in hope and redeemed in the promise that God had good plans for me. Yes, the ‘Prodical Alicia’ was returning home, and let me tell you my parents are beyond celebrating and I believe, whenever we turn from our failures or sins, and come back to the heart of Christ, the heavenly angels are there too, celebrating and cheering us on. Because what was once lost when found, has been planted in an eternal love through the cross; graced in purpose and redeemed in hope.
Today, if you feel like you have failed beyond redemption, let me tell you that you have not. Failure is not the option. God can redeem anything, any situation or anyone in your life; and he can redeem what is most important and precious to Him…. YOU! Tell yourself that, all day long if you have to, ‘No, failure is NOT THE option, the Cross IS THE Option, The only option.
When we fail we need to turn there, that is where we need to go, that is what keeps us from ‘floundering’ that is what keeps us afloat and that is why we can keep going.
Proverbs 24:16 says, ‘The righteous man may fall seven times, but still gets up’ and in 2nd Timothy 1:7 it says, ‘ ‘The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid’ And we can rest assured in Psalm 37:23-24 ”The Steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighted in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord will uphold him with his hand”.
What to us is a failure is redeemed at the cross
What to us is a bridge burned is a new one for God to build
What was once lost is now found
And what may seem like a failure is what makes grace so beautiful