“Another ‘F’? That’s the third quiz I’ve failed! I can’t fail Shakespeare in my final semester!”
But the professor’s warning sounded loud and clear in my head: “If you fail the quizzes, you will fail the class.” There was nothing more I could do but throw myself at his mercy.
That afternoon in his office I assured this formidable gentleman whose expertise in Shakespeare was renown that I had not failed to read every one of the plays he had assigned… even two or three times! But I just didn’t understand the quizzes. With tears brimming over, I told him they all referred to passages that had double meanings I failed to grasp. I just didn’t get the bawdy references.
After assuring me that I would indeed pass his class if I did well on the tests, he smiled and chuckled the obvious… I had lived a very sheltered life!
We can’t shelter ourselves from failure. It’s bound to happen. Sometimes it’s a gradual process: Our eyesight or health is failing. Someone who appears to be wasting away is perhaps failing to thrive. Heart failure can be either a drawn out process or an abrupt end to life.
It’s more than just disappointing when something isn’t working right. We get the message, “Attempt failed. Try again.” This is bad enough when an email or message won’t send. But it can be catastrophic when someone’s life depends on the success of a connection.
Failing can also yield no results… crops, plans, best efforts. And we can fail to listen… and follow directions.
I once heard someone say that there is no such thing as a failure. It’s just an early attempt at success. Well, that’s fine and dandy if I have the luxury of trying again, but sometimes there is no second chance.
Failings in a person’s character or conduct are usually not that significant, unless they affect us. Otherwise we dismiss them as minor flaws. Of course the opposite of these “insignificant” failings is perfection, and that’s exactly what our God demands.
Notice that in Scripture it’s always us humans who fall short, who are wasting away, who disappoint our Heavenly Father. Even our best attempts are lacking, especially when we think we’re impressing God.
Yet His response is always the same. His compassion, mercy, love never fail, even when we fail to listen.
Thank goodness I don’t run up against a wall. Even though I fail, I’m not a failure. When it comes to my salvation, I don’t get the hard luck message: “Try again!”
Because my Lord Jesus knew this was a life-or-death situation. He cut through my sin and failings to assure me He would never fail me or let me fail.
And it doesn’t take any quizzes or tests to reach that success. He took the test for me, and passed it perfectly, without fail!