Friday, May 11, 2012


One week from Sunday I will have the privilege of addressing the high school graduating class in my hometown.  This is always a big deal to me.  Not only is the trip nostalgic; the opportunity to share something meaningful to this group is both fascinating and breathtaking.  Wowee!

One of the things I want to cover is the sheer friendship to be found in failure.  Of course, the obvious reason this must be pointed out is that nobody wants it.  Yet, failure is one of our greatest commodities.

Failure blesses as it keeps our thinking and determining faculties engaged.  We must grow in understanding as to how to handle the dilemma at hand.  Antonio Porchia said, A door opens to me.  I go in and am faced with a hundred closed doors.

One of my most significant characteristics is how many times I have failed.  I failed in temperament in delivering the Word in sermons.  My anger overrode His call.  I have failed in organization, in friendship, in husbanding and parenting, in preparation and deliverance, and by yielding to becoming what others wanted me to be instead of what He was thinking.

I know of no other man in my position in life who has failed more. 

However, I am not discouraged.  Rather, I am glad I get to be me.  I have learned through this villain called failure and advantaged myself by using him as my fuel.  Through the angst of failure I have learned how real people---from beneath bridge to atop celeb status--hurt. 

I found Jesus to be the only source of rescue.  May I ask how he got to such a position?  Well, not via a Sheriff's badge handed to him by the Holy Spirit.  He learned by the channels of disappointment and pain; even to the extent he was hung out to publicly die as the community's greatest fraudulent failure.

We must learn that this greatest influence nobody wants is precisely what we must have in our hearts in order to connect to a world gasping for life.  Henri Nouwen spoke of this most accurately.

For the minister is called to recognize the sufferings of his time in his own heart and make that recognition the starting point of his service.  Whether he tries to enter into a dislocated world, relate to a convulsive generation, or speak to a dying man, his service will not be perceived as authentic unless it comes from a heart wounded by the suffering about which he speaks.

We can spend hours in academics and years in comparative languages.  There can be yearning for accomplishment and grappling for success.  All the while a friend stands in the wings that we address as our absolute foe.  Nobody wants this guy.  He is known as failure.

But for the victor....we must let him teach us.

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