My son was riding his bicycle the other day and was about the run into a parked car. I jumped in just in time, grabbed the handle and turned the bike around. No one commended me for my quick reflexes. No one even noticed. Frankly, I did not think much of it either.
And the other day, when the bakery ran out of hard bread, I drove 10 extra miles early in the morning just so that I could get it for my mother-in-law. She likes hard bread. But no one said, “Thank you.”
And this other time I was having a really long and hard day at work. And yet instead of driving straight home I went shopping to pick something my wife requested. I was really tired. But I got what she needed. No one said, “Gee! You’re so good.”
These are just some of the run-of-the-mill things I do every day. No one knows about it. It’s not recorded anywhere…except maybe in heaven.
And then there are these few instances when I mess things up. And, boy, do they get noticed.
Like that one time when I was trying to get my son dressed and his thumb got caught in the sleeve. It took my wife months to forgive me and let it go.
Truth is I am madly in love with my wife. And I love my kids like crazy. Sometimes, when my son goes to his grandparents’ house for a day, I am literally holding the tears back. I miss him so much.
But I am NOT the perfect dad.
I really want to be one, but I am not. I mess things up. I lose my cool. I yell. Sometimes I have to run away to be by myself, to collect my thoughts, to catch my breath…and pray.
And it is only when I sit before the Throne of Grace, that I find the strength to rise and start over again.
The devil is happy when we give up and give in. That’s why he constantly floods the mind with negative, defeatist thoughts. He wants us to be defined by our failures.
But that’s not the message of the Gospel.
The Bible says: The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14) In fact, if we follow the ways of God but fail in some part of our life, God assures us that he will be there to assist us back on our feet. If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)
So, when we fail, the best thing to do is just pick ourselves up and start all over again. We must let go of past mistakes and think about how we can do better in the future. To concentrate always on problems and to always think about the possibility of failure is self-destructive.
The victory Jesus gained over sin would never have been gained if he had thought only of the struggle and the possibility of failure. Jesus set his mind firmly on the future and what would be achieved, and this helped him to overcome failure.
And even Jesus and his disciples were not always successful in getting people to follow him as they traveled across the countryside. There was one particular time as they headed towards the next village where he sent out his disciples two by two and he said: “If any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” (Mark 6:11)
Jesus seems to be saying, “Don’t be sidetracked by your detractors, your failures. Don’t allow defeat to stop you. Don’t let failure be the final word.”
And that’s why you should never give up on yourself (or anybody else). Whatever your failure, believe that God is still at work, moving you out of the hardship to a new place. All you need to do is pray to Him and ask for help.