Updated: Jan 13
As the lights of Hannukah began to fade, soon to be replaced by the lights of Christmas, I began thinking of two things: the amazing qualities in colour and light, and how we can make our failures into successes. What a strange coupling. I suppose some of us have had one or the other or both, this last year. Failure takes on the hues of deep greys and the darkness of clouds, while success shines like shards of gold in the brightness of the sun. We can fail in so many things, but I feel the deepest of failures occurs when love itself finds no heart to rest in; when it is offered but feels the push of rejection. We avert our eyes and cast evil disdain upon those that fail and rejoice with those who succeed.
I remember when back in the 60's and 70's divorced couples were somewhat ostracised within the community and in the church; they had failed in their marriage. I remember also bankruptcy in business was also a stigma. During the years proceeding the crash of 2008, bankruptcy became common and people lost wealth overnight. The things they had worked hard for and the benefits of success slipped away, and homes repossessed.
During this time of the Covid-19 plague, we see similar things happening again. No one, it would seem, is immune from its effects, only this time the governments of the nations are forcing the doors to close on many businesses, when before, such events were personal.
As a young man, I remember reading a book by Spike Milligan. He recalled a moment whilst in his national service, when he was called to his Company Commander's office. He was on a serious charge of desertion. He explained that as far as he was concerned, he had not deserted. He argued; why, when one man turns and runs away from the charge, it's called 'desertion', but when a battalion of men do the same it's called a 'retreat.'
I can't remember whether the story actually happened or not, but the question has always stuck in my mind.
This to me is analagous. When a person falls into hard times and becomes bankrupt, he is often penalised for something which is generally out of his control. Imagine a small business that is owed money but can't get his debtors to pay. It's not his fault, yet his business can fail if his services aren't paid for. It creates a domino affect. On the other hand, when a nation begins to borrow and owes so much, to keep it functioning and the looming aspect of defaulting on its payments, it's all to do with the economy and inflation.
I find it strange also, how the trappings of success are measured and esteemed in our societies. What is even stranger is the lengths to which people will go to be accepted or considered among the successful. The affluent areas of my community are filled with large houses and expensive cars. I do wonder however, how much of all of it is actually owned and not based on debt.
Treasures in Heaven19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
THE POWER OF GOD'S LOVE.
In this passage of 1Corinthians 13:1 we read:
'If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction].'
Some people are incapable of loving, respecting and honouring others because they find no quality in themselves to love.
Some people love, respect and honour others because they see qualities in them that they admire and believe that they can never reach.
Some people just respect others and admire them because they have attributes that they feel they want themselves.
Some people love others because they see all of us as the same.
We all have faults, and have said and done things we regret, and sometimes these misdemeanours, even though they are part of our human natures, are looked at negatively. But what if they weren’t negative, but positive attributes that are with us simply to make us better and more caring people. Surely rising above the failures within ourselves is success. God sees both of these in us.
The Bible tells us that God has no favourites, and despite the fact that we all have different talents and tasks to do in the Kingdom of God, we do them because it is our obligated worship to Him and that we love Him. Despite our hang-ups and personal belief that we are incapable of truly giving ourselves in love to God and each other, the power of His love is what shines through us and changes us. It is the love-light, the touch of the creator's match that illuminates the path to our success.
We cannot love or forgive in our own understanding or the way He wants it to be manifest in this world. We need Him!
Our need for Him, highlights the fact that we lost Him when man fell from His grace in the Garden of Eden. As a result He made us interdependent on each other and dependent on Him. For if we are truly His, we have no choice. That's why all of this world was created. We were created to flow in Him, just like water.
Isaiah 43:21 "The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.
When we struggle with acknowledging the love of God for us, we persuade ourselves that God might love someone else more, and thus we doubt Him. In this thought we are echoing the original sin of those first human beings. We seriously need to repent of this action and when we do, God will restore us, and we will realise the extent of His great love for us and what it truly cost. We must also realise that we cannot love God and not love each other or even ourselves.
In understanding His great love for us, we realise who we are and what we will become as our destiny is revealed.
Imagine if colours could think.
Blue was feeling a little down when Yellow came up and asked what was the matter. Blue says to Yellow, “I wish I could be like you. You are always bright and all your shades cast warmth and brightness around, making everyone healthy and happy. But when I look at myself I find my shades are often cool, or moody. I can be as blue as a cloudless sky, deep as an ocean or as dark as space. Even people refer to me when they feel low."
Yellow looked at Blue, and said, “Let me give you a hug.” “That would be nice,” said Blue. And so the two gave each other a hug. Suddenly a beautiful shade of green appeared.
The moral is that we should stop looking at our differences and look at what we can become when we come together. The Bible teaches that we should love one another as ourselves. It is part of the Royal Command, reiterated to us by Yeshua:
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One.
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
When we don’t act in love, our differences divide us instead of enhancing us and equipping us to build something beautiful. God’s law might seem difficult and complex, and as some argue, are changeable and irrelevant to us in the 21st Century. So we have tried to wipe them out because they highlight our faults. In fact, they exist so that we can become better. Without them, we will always feel inadequate, unloveable and worthless. We use our bad experiences to hold us back by using them as excuses not to progress. We use failure as an excuse, believing that we cannot succeed in anything and are just useless.
I learned something the other day. Some people find it really difficult to sit tests and believe that they won't do well. I don’t like tests either! The way to succeed in the test is to look at the time allotment, and go through the questions – easy ones first, then the medium ones and then leave the hardest till last. You will find that you will have more time left on the harder ones and thus pressure decreases and your success rate will increase.
We should apply this pattern to ourselves. We have a lifetime to change. The hardest things will take the longest. The simplest will change quickly and you will get better at them each day.
But what challenges us the most in God’s commandments is actually to love ourselves as God sees us and to love others as God sees them. We make the change by using our faults as positive signs for change, betterment, and growth.
God created a rainbow of amazing light emitting colours. As they join together in their spectrum, amazing qualities are revealed. Each colour also has its own quality and can effect us in different ways. There are more colours than we can see. When we mix them together we make white light, the brightest of all, but it is only when they come together that the rainbow is produced. The rainbow is produced when the conditions are right.
Remember, God chose us; we didn't choose Him. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And if He says we can succeed in a thing, we should believe that all things are possible for those who believe.
It does not mean that because something falls and is buried in the soil, that it is the end. The things we find the most precious are found in the deepest darkest places on earth. Value is added to them when we decide to put in a little investment and hard work in bringing them out. The same applies to our failures. They need not remain so. All we have to do is know that the Lord, if we allow Him, will take us from the pit of despair and lead us into pastures new. He will turn our weeping into joy, our failure into success.