Fuzzy Failure

Sailing circa 1960's copyI believe God cares about the everyday details of our lives. While he wastes nothing, he rarely acts according to our frail and human understanding. We have to trust in his unlimited love and unparalleled wisdom.

Consider the sailor. When I was a child, my dad built a sailboat. Sometimes I’d get to steer. Dad would sit me at the helm, point out a particular point on the horizon, and tell me to head there. It was my job to hold a steady course toward that goal until he decided it was time to tack (sailing lingo for change direction.) Seldom was that point on the horizon our final destination; it was simply a guideline to keep me on track. “Not getting there” wasn’t failure. It was part of the plan all along.

Part of the plan…We should put our best effort into the task at hand, while remembering this: We never know when our heavenly Dad is going to tell us it’s time to tack. We might as well seize uncertainty as part of the adventure, since being in control of our lives is, and always will be, a man-made illusion.

The Bible doesn’t have much to say about failure. It talks about courage failing and eyesight failing, and even about people willfully failing to follow God’s instructions, but it doesn’t talk about plans failing. This, in fact, is what it says about our plans:

Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).

More next week, but tell me this, do you live in fear that your plans will fail?

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