Failure is Not the End
Reading: Mark 14-16
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” Mark 16:6-7 (NIV)
“But go, tell his disciples and Peter…” Peter, who just three days earlier had done what in his mind was unthinkable – he had disowned Jesus, not once but three times, just as Jesus had predicted. How must Peter have felt during those three days, after having so emphatically insisted, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Mark 14:31 Did he have the courage to even let himself be seen by Jesus as he hung on the cross? I suspect not. He had stepped up to the plate and failed, dismally.
But Jesus knew. He knew Peter's despair and the bitter anguish of his soul, and on the cross Jesus bore in his body not just the failings of Peter, but the failings of us all. Soon, Peter's despair would be replaced by hope, and the angel was there to announce it: “Go, tell his disciples and Peter…” It's OK Peter. You failed and Jesus specifically wants you to know that he still loves you.
In many ways the redemption that Peter subsequently found in Jesus through that failure was the making of the man who would go on to lead the early church and eventually make good on his promise, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”
In the kingdom of God, failure is not the end. In many ways, it's like a beginning. It's an opportunity for me to stand before God with empty hands and acknowledge once again that he is my everything. It's an opportunity for my heart to be softened and prepared so that hope can spring up afresh and arrogance make way for graciousness.
Lord, you know all too well that I have yet to reach a place of humility like the one Peter found himself in. But I pray that you would continue to perfect holiness in me as I journey with you, and if I meet failure along the way, please help me to grow from the experience, and to pass through it as one who has tasted more deeply the riches of your wonderful kindness and grace.