Hebrews 11 (Click here to read the full passage.)
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Very early on in my career, I had a performance that was disastrous. I was invited to sing at an all-night fundraising event. My performance slot was at midnight but we didn’t play until 2AM. The event was outdoors in the pouring rain. The makeshift roof didn’t fully cover the stage and I was afraid we were going to die of electrocution from all the wet sound equipment. There was some miscommunication about the sound, so it took us forever to set up. A man started yelling from the crowd, “Just play a darn song!” I was already feeling defeated before we even started and that translated into how I carried myself through the songs. Because I was young and stupid, I decided to spice things up by speaking in a fake English accent the entire set.
I’d love to say that despite everything that went wrong that night, I still sold tons of CDs and people approached me to say how blessed they were by the performance. I’d love to say that a music industry exec in the crowd saw beyond the imperfections and offered me a record deal. None of those things happened. By all accounts, the performance was a failure.
But guess what… The sun still rose the next morning. I’m still alive and well. I learned valuable lessons from those early days that have helped me work on my craft and improve my performances. And God has done a lot of work on my heart over the years to change my musical motivation; to go from seeking validation to serving people and pointing them to Jesus.
In times of failure, it’s so easy to believe, “I failed, therefore I am a failure”. That is a lie. Many people in the Bible could be considered failures but God still partnered with them to do great things for His Kingdom. Hebrews 11 lists people who are remembered for their faith, but if you look at their stories in the Old Testament, you see that many of them failed in some way:
Noah got drunk and passed out. (Genesis 9:20-21)*
Abraham lied about his wife twice. (Genesis 12 & 20)*
Sarah told her husband to sleep with the maid and then resented the maid. (Genesis 16)*
Jacob deceived people. (Genesis 25, 27, 30)*
Moses lost his temper. (Exodus 2:11-15; 32:19; Numbers 20:10-12)*
The Israelites complained. (Exodus 16:1-8; Numbers 11:1-15; 20:2-5)
Rahab was a prostitute. (Joshua 2)
Gideon was insecure. (Judges 6:14-15)
Samson got tangled up with the wrong woman. (Judges 16)*
David committed adultery and murder. (2 Samuel 11)*
Every one of these people failed and yet Hebrews 11 remembers them as heroes of the faith!
Am I telling you to throw caution to the wind and live however you want? Not at all. By God’s Grace, we can make better decisions, move past our failures, learn from them, and refuse to be defined by them. By faith, we can allow God to write a better ending to our story.