An entry in EDIFIED! Written several years ago
“Spread your protection over [those who take refuge in you] so that those who love your name may rejoice in YOU!”
Psalm 5:11b, emphasis added
It was 4 AM, but I was wide-awake, staring up into the darkness. My mind was in turmoil, burdened by the news I’d gotten the previous evening. I’d unwittingly done two negative things to an old friend, hurting him and injuring our relationship. One was a cultural blunder, the other indiscretion in speech (better known as gossip). How could I have been so dumb!? Now here I was 2000 miles away, unable to right these things quickly or easily.
After confessing and receiving God’s forgiveness for these sins, I struggled with forgiving myself. This situation was so humiliating—I should have known better than to do these things! But if God says Christ’s sacrifice was enough to buy forgiveness, I’d better agree.
As I writhed in emotional pain, the Holy Spirit brought several passages to my mind:
Psalm 62:1, “My soul finds rest in God alone,” and its corollary, “Knowing Jesus is enough for joy.” Was I going to choose to live this Truth now, or was I going to unnecessarily continue to rub salt in my wounds, constantly castigating myself?
Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall always be in my mouth….” Will I now, by act of will, praise Him in and for this, accepting His perspective on the situation?
Psalm 86:1, “Bow down and hear, O Lord, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul, for I am holy, O Lord my God, save your servant who trusts in you.” Will I choose to live in the balance of truth that in my flesh I am sinful, poor and needy while in my new creature status I am holy?
As I meditated on these, peace came, and with it sleep.
But it was not over; for next morning there was still heaviness in my heart, so I opened my journal and began to write. Psalm 23:2 came to mind: “…he makes me to lie down in green pastures.” The Spirit helped me see that this failure on my part is a green pasture, both for me and for others—a place where I could feed on His Word and grow spiritually, a profitable place. So I began to list the good things that could come from this.
First is a chance to be humbled, to grasp more deeply how untrustable I am, and how trustable God is. These humiliating failures are, in fact, a clear answer to my own prayer for growth.
It is a chance to be weak so I can be strong in Him.
It is a powerful lesson on the danger of allowing fear of man to dominate, and of indulging in unwisely passing on information (gossip).
It is an opportunity to strike a blow at Satan by praising and by humbling myself in pursuing this injured relationship and asking forgiveness.
It is also an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by handling my failure biblically and to value relationships over pride and appearance.
In short it is a chance to turn failure into a victory that brings glory to God, growth to me and example to others.
Prayer: “Thank you, Lord, for your work of exposing my depravity, so that I will not trust in myself, but in you and your wisdom. Help me to think truth, following the prompting of your Spirit, to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and so bring glory to you. Amen.”