I was meeting with a friend recently and the Lord brought this section of Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel to mind. Having been under a vague, dark and oppressive cloud since the beginning of the New Year, I found that I needed it probably more than he did.
Since I have found life in sharing with others what I need to hear, I wanted to put it out there for myself and others to drink from (I’m not sure the page reference, found the quote online).
Many of us are haunted by our failure to have done with our lives what we longed to accomplish. The disparity between our ideal self and our real self, the grim specter of past infidelities, the awareness that I am not living what I believe, the relentless pressure of conformity, and the nostalgia for lost innocence reinforces a nagging sense of existential guilt: I have failed.
This is the cross we never expected, and the one we find hardest to bear.
One morning at prayer, I heard this word — “Little brother, I witnessed a Peter who claimed that he did not know Me, a James who wanted power in return for service to the kingdom, a Philip who failed to see the Father in Me, and scores of disciples who were convinced I was finished on Calvary. The New Testament has many examples of men and women who started out well and then faltered along the way.”
“Yet on Easter night I appeared to Peter. James is not remembered for his ambition but for the sacrifice of his life for Me. Philip did see the Father in Me when I pointed the way, and the disciples who despaired had enough courage to recognize Me when we broke bread at the end of the road to Emmaus. My point, little brother, is this — I expect more failure from you than you expect from yourself.”
The ragamuffin who sees his life as a voyage of discovery and runs the risk of failure has a better feel for faithfulness than the timid man who hides behind the law and never finds out who he is at all. Winston Churchill said it well — “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.”