Summary: If we have failures in our life, does that mean we are total failures? Abraham, a great man of faith, proves that God is bigger than our failures.
HOW DO WE DEAL WITH FAILURE?
Text: Genesis, Chapters 12 and 13
One of the most famous stories of all time in college football is the story of Roy Riggles. Riggles became infamous and was known by the name of “Wrong Way Riggles”. This all came about when Roy Riggles, along with the rest of the U.C.L.A team, squared off against Georgia Tech in the Rose Bowl game of 1929.
Roy Riggles recovered a Georgia Tech fumble, became confused, and started running the wrong way! He ran 65 yards toward his own goal line instead of the right goal line for a touchdown. He ran the wrong way down the field until his own teammate tackled him—before he could cross the wrong goal line and score for the opposing team!
UCLA went 3 and out and lined up to punt. Georgia Tech blocked the punt and scored a safety, which would be the margin of victory for Tech in the Rose Bowl game of 1929.
What happened at halftime?
Everyone was wondering what Coach Nibbs Price would do with Riggles. The players left the field and filed into the locker room and sat down on the benches and floor—all but Roy Riggles. Roy put a blanket around his shoulders and sat in the corner. He held his face in his hands and cried like a baby.
Coach Price normally had a lot to say at halftime—but that day, he was quiet, trying to figure out what to do with Roy Riggles.
The officials pounded on the locker-room door and called out, “Be on the field for the 2nd half in 3 minutes!” The Coach looked at his solemn team and at Roy Riggles, and he said, “The same men that played the first half will start the second half.”
The players got up and started out onto the field. One player didn’t move—he just sat in the corner. Coach Price went over to him and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team is starting the second half.”
Roy looked up and replied, “Coach, I can’t go out there again, even to save my life. I’ve ruined you, I’ve ruined the University, and I’ve ruined myself. I could never go out there and face that crowd!”
Then the Coach put his hand on Roy’s shoulder and said, “Roy, get up and go back in the game, because the game is only half over.”
So, Roy went back out on the field, and the people who saw the game—particularly the Georgia Tech players who were on the field with him—said they never saw a man play football like Roy Riggles played during the second half of that game!
Roy’s one failure didn’t warrant him being called “Wrong Way Riggles” in history. The people who watched him play knew that—his Coach knew that—and, in the end, Roy knew it too!
It took quite a Coach to evaluate the situation, put his frustration aside, and to say, “Roy, get up and get back into the game!” He treated Riggles the same way loving parents treat their children—or concerned teachers—or our own Coach.
It is the same way we would all want to be treated during some critical time of our lives. It is the same way God treats us, when we belong to Him. Here’s the question for us to answer this morning—
we have a failure in our lives, does that mean we are a total failure?
Man was created for success from the very beginning. We were created perfectly and lived in a perfect environment, which in the Book of Genesis, was called the Garden of Eden. Things were perfect, because mankind was in perfect fellowship with God.
In our previous lessons in the Book of Genesis—the Book of Beginnings—we learned that Adam and Eve were given freedom of choice. They chose to fail when they chose to violate God’s commandment to not eat of the “tree of Good and Evil”. This was the event that brought sin into the world, and since we are all of the nature of Adam, the Apostle Paul tells us that we too have also sinned.
Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden of Eden and life change for all of mankind. They were put out of the Garden of Eden, but with the promise of God’s Grace for the future (Genesis 3:15). This is the earliest revelation of God’s plan to reconcile man back to Himself. God was going to turn them from being total failures into successful beings, if they chose to be. In Genesis 3:22, there is an indication of how that would come about.
---22---“Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever.’ ”