Summary: Failures flourish when they're with Christ, so come for fellowship with Christ and let Him feed you; confess your failure to Christ and let Him affirm you; and commit to following Christ and let Him restore you.
SpaceX is a California space technology company that has been working on safely returning used rocket boosters, so they can be used again. This would greatly reduce the cost of space flight, and they have recently been successful, but not without a lot of failure. Take a look at a YouTube video (www.youtube.com/ watch?v=bvim4rsNHkQ) they uploaded last fall (September 2017), which shows some of the most dramatic times they did not succeed (Show video: How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster).
The two-minute video, titled "How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster," is set to the song "The Liberty Bell" by John Philip Sousa and includes humorous captions for each clip of impressive rocket explosions.
In one segment that shows SpaceX CEO Elon Musk observing a smoldering rocket, the caption reads “It's just a scratch.” Another chimes in, “Well, technically, it did land… just not in one piece.” The video even pokes fun at the phrase “rapid unscheduled disassembly,” a phrase Musk has made famous to describe untimely and expensive explosions of impressive size.
The video ends, however, with triumphant footage of its first two successful landings, one on land and one on sea. (Marcia Dunn, “SpaceX bloopers video: ‘How NOT to land an orbital rocket,’” Yahoo! News, 9-14-17; www.PreachingToday.com)
I like some of the comments (in case you missed them): “It’s just a scratch;” “Well, technically, it did land… just not in one piece.” And my favorite: “Rapid unscheduled disassembly.”
Now, after all those failures, the company has experienced good success, landing 16 additional rocket boosters without mishap. You see, failure is not fatal. Failure doesn’t have to be the end of the story. In fact, it can be the beginning of something wonderful if you handle it right. Even if you have committed some great moral failure, God can still use you for His glory!
That’s what the resurrection is all about. Jesus died for your sins on the cross. Then He rose again, demonstrating that God had accepted His sacrifice on your behalf. Now, Jesus is in the business of restoring failures to faithful, fulfilled, and fruitful servants in His Kingdom.
In one of His post-resurrection appearances, Jesus does that for Peter, who had failed miserably. Peter had boasted that even if all the other disciples ran away, he would lay down his life for Jesus no matter what (John 13:37). But after Jesus was arrested, Peter came into the door of the High Priest’s courtyard, and John 18 records:
The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself… So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said, “I am not.”
One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”
Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed (John 18:17-18, 25-27).
Three times by a charcoal fire, Peter denied knowing the Lord. Now, three times by another charcoal fire, Jesus will restore Peter. He will restore their broken relationship, and He will restore Peter’s broken ability to serve successfully. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to John 21, John 21, where we see how Jesus restored Peter, and how He can restore you and me when we fail.
John 21:1-3 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. (ESV)
Peter figured that Jesus didn’t want Him anymore, so he goes back to his old job. He goes fishing, but he fails even at that. Peter can’t do anything right, but Jesus is not finished with Him.
John 21:4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. (ESV)
It was still dark.
John 21:5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” (ESV)
Oh, how that question must have hurt Peter. Here he is, an experienced, professional fisherman, and he has nothing to show for it.
John 21:6-11 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. (ESV)