A Call to Failure
It came as a revelation—
It was worth the price of the gale—
To know that the souls that conquer,
Must at first be the souls that fail.
To know that where strength is baffled,
I have reached the common ground,
Where the highest meet with the lowly;
Where the heart of man is found.
History is unrepeatable, but it can be re-lived many times in our memory. Our successes we like to savor; our failures we’d rather forget. I’m gradually learning, however, that failure can be a singular form of success.
Blunders, mistakes, missed opportunities, broken relationships, failed ministries can be a means of grace and great blessing if we accept them as part of our call. “Souls that conquer must at first be the souls that fail.”
Through humiliation our strength is frustrated; we’re disabused of our delusions of grandeur and brought low. There, we learn “to associate with the lowly” (Romans 12:16). Our losses enable us to empathize with those who've fallen; we can accept and love them as no other can.
But first we must let go of regret. As long as we worry over the things we wish had not happened and the mistakes we wish we had not made, part of our heart remains isolated. Brooding over past disasters intimidates us; feelings of inadequacy isolate us. We’re afraid to venture ourselves again.
But when we accept our failures as simple proof that we’re weak, God’s strength is made perfect. We can turn toward to others with greater compassion, sensitivity, wisdom and understanding. Thus our mistakes are redeemed and put to God’s intended purpose.
Failure is not ruinous; we are called to failure and owe much to each day that we fail. The lessons that we learn there, “are worth the price of the gale.”