“After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.” C.S. Lewis.
Once again, my “Uncle Lewis” hits it square on the head.
I don’t know about you, but I fail often. Nearly daily. It’s excruciatingly frustrating. I set out goals to accomplish, and rarely do I ever fully complete them. Or I decide to spend time with one of the children over and above our normal times together, but then I just don’t make it a priority. I do well for a day or so on taking care of my health, but then I fall off of the wagon again.
I’m sure you could come up with a list of your own.
I think the quote above by Lewis is key to our understanding not just of what to do when we fail, but of what failure is, in and of itself. He says we are to ask forgiveness after each failure–so does that make every failure a sin? I know that the vast majority of my failures are sins. But I don’t really know the answer to that question.
Lewis says to pick yourself up and try again. Easier said than done. But non-negotiable. It must be done. And there is a wealth of learning just in this stage after a failure: humility, perseverance, determination, and an acute awareness of the need for God.
I love his second sentence, for I’d never thought about it before. I am so goal oriented. I have goals for all areas of my life, all written down. But when I fail, I’m often tempted to burn those sheets of papers full of goals because I “didn’t achieve them.” Lewis says that it is often not the virtue that God helps us out to achieve during our failures, but rather He gives us the “power of always trying again.”. Whew. When I threaten my own self with “quitting” words, God places within me just enough strength to try again. It’s a beautiful thing.
Switching gears; I’d like to examine the topic of blessing for a bit. Our pastor, Michael Howard Jr. preached an excellent sermon on praising God. On bragging about God to God. We camped out for quite awhile on the term blessing, as found in Psalm 145: 1-3:
Here we see David “blessing God.” But sometimes that phrase causes discomfort in our minds and souls. Who are we—Who am I to presume to bless the almighty God??
Pastor Michael shared with us that the meaning of “Bless” in this connotation is “to kneel”. Wow. To kneel–whether actually physically kneeling before our God or kneeling in our soul is a whole different form of worship. When was the last time you knelt before your God? When was the last time you blessed your God. I’m ashamed to say that my knees are far from being calloused, when after all He has done for me and my crew, my knees should be tattered and torn from kneeling before Him and blessing Him. I have clean knees. I long for dirty, rug burned knees.
Blessings are important. We are called to bless one another. To speak blessings over our children. To bless those who are in need. But ultimately, we must bless God and praise His name forever and ever. His greatness is unsearchable.
***Last topic: We started preparing for Christmas (yes, I know it is only August), by listening to the musical we will be presenting to the community this Christmas season. I was struck by the genre of Christmas music and litanies. They exude anticipation. Anticipation of the one who is to come, who’s name is Yeshua/Jesus. There is joy, real joy not just in the words, but in the instrumental score as the notes ring out to welcome he newborn king.
It may only be August, but singing through this music turned my soul toward he celebration of my Jesus’ birth.
Come, Emmanuel. Dwell among us.