Wednesday 14th June 2023

Navigating Failure

The Denial of Saint Peter by Caravaggio (1610)
The Denial of Saint Peter by Caravaggio (1610)

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fail.  We can fail for a variety of reasons—sometimes things just don't go our way, sometimes we make wrong choices.

At times, we all fail.

Accordingly, one of the most important foundations for our lives is the ability to keep going despite trials and repeated setbacks. Anyone who has the courage to stand for something will face opposition.  Leadership includes failing.

In our scripture reading from Luke 22:54-62 we see Saint Peter deny Jesus and struggle with his failure; even as he will later be restored as a friend and follower. Failure isn't just something we get through, it is a path we must grow through.  J. K. Rowling’s initial Harry Potter novel was rejected by the first twelve publishers. One verdict on the "Fab Four's" performance in 1962 opined: “The Beatles have no future in show business.”  

We will likely be tested more by our failures than our successes.  It could be that what sustains people through repeated setbacks is self-confidence, or stubbornness, tenacity, or desperation, friends, family or faith.

What sustains you?

A flourishing person is not someone who never fails. To grow healthily we need to navigate failure, and, with help, keep going.  'Keeping on' means learning from mistakes and treating failure as a learning experience. From a refusal to be defeated, may we become stronger, wiser, and more determined.  Perhaps, most of all, may be see what truly sustains us and what life's priorities really are.  What Peter discovered in all of this was that his failure was wrapped up in the grace and faithfulness of God.  The love of God is constant and trustworthy.  God's faithfulness never abandons us—even when we sometimes lose faith in ourselves.