Tag Archives: being noticed. the Body of Christ

When Failure Is Success

I’be been reading in the book of Acts.

This account of the early Church provides us 21st century readers a comfortable opportunity to analyze and see the big picture of God’s dealings.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to read our own story and recognize how God—in spite of our lack of faith, or because of it—is operating to accomplish His plan?

Bruce and I sometimes wonder about decisions we’ve made in the past:

  • Should we have taken the job in New York?
  • Why didn’t we buy a used car instead of that brand new car that turned out to be a lemon?
  • What if I never picked up that gargantuan box, herniating the disks in my neck? Would I have continued on my path toward being a full-time singer?
  • What if Bruce hadn’t accepted the telecom job  in California right before the telecom bust of 2002?

I’m sure you have your own speculations. Most of them involve failures that you can’t forget.

When viewed from above, are my apparent failures something more?

Does my chronic pain, and my struggle to conquer bitterness, make me more compassionate? Did our job loss so many years ago help us to empathize with and counsel others? Did our marital spats help us recognize our own individual patterns of wrong-thinking, leading to a better marriage…and opportunities to teach younger couples what we’ve learned?

Now, I’m not suggesting a cavalier attitude to failure. It’s painful, and it ripples outward and affects those around us, too.

However, like the book of Acts, our own Christian redemptive stories should become part of the larger picture of unity within the Body.

It is within the Body that God has designed our successes and failures to interweave in a narrative of faith.

Think of Peter’s Denial of Christ. This man became the head of the early Church.

Think of Paul, the murderer, who became an Apostle.

Think of the persecuted Church who dispersed to other nations.

Failure becomes success when viewed from this perspective: In Christ, my story is His story. My failures belong to Him, not me. He can do with them what He wills.





Notice Me!

During our many hikes in the mountains, my husband and I have come unawares upon snakes, bears, moose, elk, deer, beavers, snowshoe hairs, pine martens.

It’s rare for us to see them before they see us. Most of the time they’re already moving away into thicker vegetation.

My son encountered a female grizzly bear up in Denali National Park. She sized him up and dismissed him with a snort.

Animals survive for the most part by not being noticed. Because there’s always something bigger and nastier on the prowl, most animals will avoid notice if at all possible.

Humans are not like that. We survive by being noticed. Just think about how you feel when you first visit a church. Most people will form a negative or positive judgment about the church based on if someone noticed them and gave them some attention. (I know that I die a little inside when I attend a new organization and am ignored.)

God made us that way. It’s not a bad thing. We’re supposed to crave each others love and attention. Just as the apostle Paul said, “…so in Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Eph. 4:25 NIV Bible)

If you are a believer and are not part of a Body, know that this is rarely Christ’s intent for you. He wants you to be part of a worshiping and serving body. You may have been hurt by someone at church and have withdrawn in anger or fear.

But your emotional—indeed, ultimately, your physical—survival depends on:

  • Noticing and being noticed. Loving and being loved. Helping and being helped.
  • Finding significance by using your gifts for others.
  • Worshiping together with the knowledge that you are part of the Bride of Christ.
  • Joining with others to do good works which might be impossible by yourself.

We were made for togetherness.

Don’t hunker down and hide like the bunnies on your lawn! Join a loving body of believers and grow your relationships.

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…”  (Acts 2:46 NIV Bible)