Failing Toward Success

So Peter went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:62

Thomas Edison failed nearly a thousand times to find the proper filament for the electric light bulb. But Scottish nature photographer Alan McFadyen would have been happy with such a short quest. He wanted to take the perfect picture of a kingfisher diving into the water in search of a fish—the bird perfectly vertical; the point of its beak touching the water; the bird mirrored exactly in the flat, glassy water’s surface. And he did it—after spending 4,200 hours and taking 720,000 digital images.

All those pictures weren’t failures, of course; but there was only one he counted as a success. That’s how failure works. Sometimes it’s complete, like when an electric light bulb doesn’t work. And sometimes it’s just not the very best. You know you can do better. However we define failure, it can be a stepping-stone to success if we will let it. Like Peter did. He once failed miserably in his loyalty to Christ, but had the wisdom to accept the second chance he was given. And we can do the same.

With failure, it is not a question of “if,” but of “when” and “how.” We must live prepared to fail—but also prepared to succeed as we grow in grace.

The perfect Christian is the one who, having a sense of his own failure, is minded to press toward the mark. Ernest F. Kevan

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