All who know me know I have faced ups and downs in both personal and professional aspects of life. All we have when a crisis has ended is our conduct during it. Crisis is quite revealing. My failures have provided an exposure of me to me, and occasionally others. Failure does not necessarily make or break anyone, but it surely does reveal us to ourselves. Failure, if it can be survived, builds character (James 1:2-4).
Failure comes in many forms, shapes, and sizes – can range from personal to professional, small to large, intimate to very public; but in any case, we all have failures. This little article addresses the hard truth that some of our failures can reveal if truth is our objective.
I can honestly say for me, far more is learned in failure than ever in success. Why? Because, as a human, I am very capable of having the wrong perspective, often selfish and self serving, and limited to my view only. In the early immature years of self analysis, I would automatically assume ‘my view’ to be right, and in many cases I was as wrong as a duck with lips. I could see through my eyes only.
In later more mature times, I learned that not to be the case in every case. In any case, failure and conflict are beautiful opportunities to self examine by asking and answering hard questions of yourself. If TRUTH is the real objective, God has a way of helping us find it, even when it hurts terribly bad! He has a way of revealing us to ourselves, to forgiving ourselves and others – no human has that capability! What an event the Cross was!
The one thing I constantly sought, even dating back into childhood was truth. I wanted truth, but had no clue what I really wanted. JESUS, who is the ultimate truth, was knocking on my door but I wasn’t interested! Yet later I learned, THERE IS NO REAL LIFE WITHOUT TRUTH, AND ONLY DEATH WITH WHAT IS OBTAINED BY A LIE! Test that statement! There is no real life on this planet without truth ruling our lives. Truth buried is a substitute for real life!
Interestingly, I am finding Jesus in much more than I ever knew in my early days as a Christian. I am finding that seeming setbacks are often prerequisites for setups: a necessary repositioning of attitude or physical structure necessary for a larger component of events than what existed in the previous structure (His Kingdom Order).
The following statement is true in both the natural and spiritual world: It’s truth resonates in the natural (knowledge) and supernatural (revelation) – ANYTHING GROWING WILL CHANGE. This is true whether it is revelation of Christs’ love, whether a growing pubescent teenager, whether an emerging technology, whether a major corporation or business, whether an individual on a new journey of faith, communities, relationships, marriages, etc., GROWTH REQUIRES CHANGE, JUST AS STAGNANCY INITIATES DEATH.
Engrafting and pruning are signs of growth as they reflect change. Engrafting is the natural phenomenon of addition that comes about as a result of “seeking first the Kingdom, and seeing ALL THINGS ADDED.” Pruning is often a natural and necessary phenomenon in which the least productive parts are cut away, such that the remaining lifeblood can be supplied to the parts that are productive. Painful pruning occurs just before great growth occurs.
The setbacks of conflict and failure can be, and often are, prerequisites for growth. This almost foreign concept could get me stoned around a group of intellectuals (and I’m talking “Stephen stoned, not Colorado stoned here.”) Arthur Burt, a wise man who died at 102 years of age, stated, “God allows in His wisdom what He could have prevented in His power.” This was a statement directed at my personal life because he knew my walk – words that prepared me for hardships and difficulties that were eventually used to set me into growth patterns. The knowledge that these difficulties were NOT designed for my defeat, but rather my strengthening has been a measure of TRUTH that produced life where there easily could have been death.
It is this type TRUTH that I will seek until the day I leave this earth.