A Call to Failure

by Marti Fischer

What to do with failure? Hide it? No, unless you like being alone to yourself.

“So how are you?” someone inquires and you say, “I am fine. I am all right. I absolutely couldn’t be better.” And if pressed to continue, you will find past successes to tell about. But you will still be isolated in your failure, hiding condemning feelings and the agonizing thoughts of regret. These thoughts and feelings work overtime in your mind causing you to be intimidated by your very own shadow, not to mention by the people you regard and respect.

In such a state, you cannot pay attention to your heart and its longing to be touched — never mind experience love. No, not even love can call you out of this place of isolation.

So then the only thing to do is derive some pleasure dwelling on the failures of others. Sure, you may have made a few “errors in judgment,” but that guy really blew it; he blew it big. That usually works. Feeling better yet?

No, of course not. Not until you embrace your failure, bring it to light and let it do its work in your life. Yes, failure has a job to do; it has a purpose, as long as you don’t stand in its way.

(Enter God.)

As a matter of fact, your best work will come through your failures. You cannot even put your “best foot forward” without stumbling. To accept failure is to know that you are very good at blowing it and God is very good at using it. You are weak; He is strong; and it is through His strength in your weakness that He expresses such unfathomable power through His free-flowing grace to you, and then outwards through you to others.

Accept the Call to Failure. To accept failure is to know love and give life again. Accepting the things that have happened and the things that we have done —accepting that of others — is simple evidence that none of us can make it on our own.


A Call to Failure

A poem by George Matheson

I had a call to a mission,

Signed in my heart and sealed,

And I felt my success was certain,

And the end seemed already revealed;

The sea was without a murmur,

Unwrinkled its even flow,

And I heard the master commanding,

And I was constrained to go.


But, out from the peaceful haven,

There woke a terrible storm,

And the waves around were in chaos,

And the land appeared without form

And I stretched my hands to the Father

And cried in a chilling fear-

“Didst not Thou pledge Thy presence!

And naught but failure is here!”


Then in the midst of the thunder

There rose a still, small voice,

Clear through the roar of the waters,

Deep through their deafening noise:

“Have I no calls to failure!

Have I no blessing for loss!

Must not the way to thy mission

Lie through the path of thy cross!”


It came as a revelation-

It was worth the price of the gale

To know that the souls that conquer

Must at first be the souls that fail

To know that where strength is baffled

I have reached the common ground

Where the highest meet with the lowly

Where the heart of man is found


O door of the heart’s communion

My Father gave me the key

When he called me out to the ocean,

And summoned the storm to me;

For the wings of the storm that smote me

Were the wings of humanity’s breast

As it moved on the face of the waters

And sighed for an ark of rest



Years have gone by since that sadness

And many an hour has come

When the storm in the ships of others

Has signaled me out from home;

Yet I never can see that signal

But I feel how much I owe

To the day that, when called to failure,

My steps were constrained to go.


This entry was posted in Tragedy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Call to Failure

  1. Kevin says:

    thanks. nice insight also on how it relates to isolation.

  2. Steve Read says:

    Perfect timing! Blessings.

  3. When a child learns to walk, we celebrate their first steps even though we know there are many stumbles and tumbles to follow because we also know that failure is part of the process toward success.
    We don’t wait for the day that the child walks perfectly – we celebrate the first step, which is inevitably followed by the first fall.

    Because our failures are just as much a part of who we are as our achievements they contribute to our success as equally as our accomplishments do.
    Both craft who we are and how well we grow and move forward in life.

    So next time we fail at something, (as we all inevitably will), we should fight the urge to commiserate and instead, celebrate!

    As C.S. Lewis put it, “Failures are the finger posts on the road to achievement.”
    Every time we fail, we are closer to success.
    And that, child of God, is a reason to celebrate!

    Shalom, Peace….

  4. Mark D Seguin says:

    Great read!

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