This last weekend was a time where many people attended graduations. Debbie and I drove to Lawrence and back on Friday to attend our son Taylor’s “Masters in Social Work” ceremony. I am sorry to say I cannot remember what the Commencement Speaker talked about. To be honest most speeches are forgotten soon after delivered and this is coming from me, a person who delivers a 30 minute “speech” every Sunday.
I do remember hearing about a high school commencement speaker this year who was the president of a large corporation. He was chosen for the occasion because of his success. Yet his speech came with a most unusual wish for the graduates.
The speaker told the students sitting before him in their graduation gowns, “If I could have one hope for you as you go out into the world, it would be this: I hope you fail. I hope that you fail at something that is important to you.” He went on to say how his own early life had been one failure after another, until he learned to see failure as an effective teacher.
A recurring story of the Bible is that mountains of faith rise from the valleys of failure. Before discovering the high ground we are looking for, we may need to see the failure of the dreams we hold in our hearts and trust instead in the love, wisdom, and guidance of our God.
On numerous occasions Jesus told his followers, “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am with you!” - Matthew 14:27 (NLT)
I believe that too many Christians are afraid of failure. We fear failure so therefore we do not even strive to succeed. God rarely makes our fear disappear. Instead, He asks us to be strong, take courage and learn from the times we fail.
Our son Taylor will embark later this summer on a one year assignment to the Middle East. He will be stationed in Jerusalem with the task of aiding those who are persecuted in war torn Palestine.
I pray for his safety and applaud his courage for stepping out in faith to make a difference in the name of Jesus Christ.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,