Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Even though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.
Leroy and Mike were high school friends who shared a passion for basketball. They both tried out for the varsity, but Leroy made the team, while Mike was cut.
Mike was crushed.
He asked the coach if he could at least ride on the bus with the team for the district tournament. The coach let him accompany them – as long as he helped carry the player’s uniforms.
So, how do you respond to failure?
When I fail, I find it convenient to give up – claiming it is God’s will. I have often felt that, if God is behind it, then I will be successful, and it will be easy.
Over the years, I have begun to realize that Jesus doesn’t share my theology. He told a parable of a widow who kept coming to a judge with the plea, “Give me justice against my adversary.” Again and again the judge ignored her.
Eventually, she wore him down, and he heard her case.
The point that Jesus is making is that – even after repeated failure – we should never give up. The Lord will come to our aid.
In 1976, Ronald Reagan challenged the incumbent president, Jerry Ford. Reagan fought hard to gain the nomination, but in the end, Ford won.
Reagan had lost, but hadn’t given up. At the Republican National Convention, he met with tearful supporters and quoted from an old ballad, “Sir Andrew Barton.” There is a line in this poem which says:
I am hurt but I am not slain;
I will lay me down and bleed a while,
And then I will rise and fight again.
When, Mike failed to make the basketball team, he didn’t give up. All summer long, he practiced basketball with his friend Leroy Smith. And that next year, Michael Jordan did make the team.
Failure didn’t keep him down. It fueled a fire within him. Jordan says, “It all started when Coach Herring cut me.”
Do you feel like you’ve stumbled into a deep pit? Invite your enemies to come quickly, because they won’t have much time to gloat over you. The Lord is our light. He heals, he strengthens, he forgives. You can wallow in the pit for a while, but don’t get used to it down there; the Lord intends to pull you out.
You’re going to rise again.
(copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)