#Fail: Now What?
“This is my story. This is my song,” are lines from the hymn “Blessed Assurance.”
Peter’s #Fail Story
Remember Peter, before Jesus’ arrest? Jesus had said, “Satan has asked permission to sift you as wheat. I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned, strengthen the others.” (See Luke 22:14–33.)
Peter’s reaction? “I’ll never deny you. I’ll go with you unto death.”
Jesus knew better. Within hours, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, let alone admitting to loving this man he’d trailed for three years. Peter, and the other disciples with him, failed. Feared. Fled. They locked themselves away, where one night, Peter said, brilliantly, “Let’s go fishing” (John 21:1–13).
Fishing? Didn’t they leave those nets to follow Jesus?
Right. That life segment ended badly. Plan B became Plan A, and off they trundled, shaking out their nets and casting them into the waters. One long dark night in a rocking boat…these former fishermen fished. All night. And they caught nothing.
Plan B. #Fail. Plan A. #Fail. Now what?
When the sun rose, silhouetted in the shadows stood a man. “Haven’t you any fish?”
Busted. More #Fail.
But wait. At the man’s command, the washed-up fishermen again threw in their nets, hauling in such a huge mess of fish it made history. There on the beach, Jesus invited Peter and company to breakfast—into relationship, into forgiveness, into calling.
It’s there that Peter’s song and story changed.
Unless we know the backstory, his future successes—thousands of people added to the Church, passion, death threats, courage, conversion—seem overwhelming and unattainable. Only the superstars, the #Success people, experience such astounding triumph. Not true.
Peter’s accomplishments are most meaningful in the context of his greatest failure.
The “if-onlys” of failure riddle all of our lives. If only I hadn’t made that mistake, failed in that relationship, dropped that ball, betrayed that person. If only.
Failure became part of Peter’s story—the part that gave him credibility to “strengthen the others.” Without failure, forgiveness is not applicable. What’s to forgive? Resurrection means nothing. Breakfast on the beach, that miracle of sustenance and provision, is just a nice picnic.
Without the #Fail, who could relate to Peter? But because of it, others witnessed the power of Christ in and through him. Transformed from someone who feared, failed, fled—into someone inviting people to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
#Fail. It’s a great common denominator among all who dress in skin and bones. But when failure leads to forgiveness, to a turning point over a charcoal fire at sunrise, when we deserve nothing—our stories offer others hope.
What’s your story, your song, your past imperfections, your present forgiveness? Where have you failed, been found, been forgiven?
“I have prayed for you”—not that you will not fail. Because you will. “I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned, strengthen the others.”
#Fail. #Success. The ultimate turnaround.
Turns out, we are super qualified. And that story will sing.
This article was adapted from the original published in Indeed magazine, March/April 2018. © 2018 Jane Rubietta. All rights reserved.
Jane Rubietta loves words and the Word. She is a Master Instructor and coach, speaks internationally, and is the author of 20 books. Her newest release is her debut novel, The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis. See JaneRubietta.com for more information.