Brace yourselves for something scary ………. MATH! AHHH! Okay, Okay, so not so scary – though many of you still might want to leave the room screaming right now due to your great dislike for the subject. But I have to admit, I’ve always been kind of partial to math. It’s so clear-cut, black and white, absolute. Two times two always equals four.
Hang with me for just a moment in the math realm. Remember that old multiplication rule – two negatives make a positive?
It’s true in math, but also in the Christian life.
I’ve been focusing on the idea of need, and being at ease in our need, on my blog recently (take a look at need as a mom and The Needy Person in Your Life for more). As I was thinking about this post and what aspect of need I was going to address, this equation formulated in my mind:
Failure x Need = Praise
Nothing reminds me more of my need than my failure.
Failure has been haunting me this week.
I recently tried, put forth my best effort, but still fell short; in an area I feel called and gifted. I guess calling and gifting aren’t always a guarantee of success, are they?
But for some strange reason I am at peace with my failure. It’s weird, I know. But I am almost, kind of, sort of……. Celebrating my failure?!
This is why – because of my inadequacy, any fruit that came from my labors is undoubtedly a result of God’s work, not my own. That I can say with confidence.
And I can say it with a thankful heart too. I am so relieved that my efficacy is not dependent upon my stellar performance, but completely reliant upon the activity of the Holy Spirit. I can produce nothing good without Him. It’s His power at work in me to produce what pleases Him (Phil. 2:12-13). And that’s true of all of us who are ‘working out our salvation’ – who are growing into the people God desires us to be. We all are dependent upon His power at work in us.
Our need for His constant help, direction, and strength keep us aligned in humility.
So, getting back to the equation:
My failure serves to remind me of my need. My need to be resting in His power and resource, not my own.
The wonderful thing about need is that it reveals the greatness and beauty of the One who can and does meet those needs. It reminds me that my deficit is His fullness.
Because we need sustenance,
He is our Provider.
Because we are hurting and broken,
He is our Comforter and Healer.
Because we are hopelessly lost,
He is our Savior.
Because we are weak,
He is our Strength.
Because we live in chaos,
He is our Peace.
Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond our need. In moments of insecurity, uncertainty, or danger how can we possibly concentrate on anything else? But our need puts us in our proper place – complete reliance on God.
Our need reveals more of God to us than if we had no need. Because of our need, God is able to show off more of who He is!
Then, my need overflows in praise and glory to the One who meets my needs and is at work despite my failures.
I believe God allows us to become acutely aware of our deep need so that we can become intimately familiar with His power to provide.
Since we function in continual deficit, He can be who He is – All in All. Our lack brings Him glory when we simply let Him provide what is lacking. In our weakness He is strong. Then we can boast in Him, not in ourselves.
Can you see it?
Failure x Need = Praise
It’s a perfect equation!
God is the only one who can multiply negative upon negative in our lives and allow us to somehow end up praising and glorifying Him. He works all things together for good for those who love Him! (Romans 8:28).
**For you fellow math nerds out there (my dad a brothers and husband, to name a few), I realize that in the realm of abstract math ‘absolute’ goes out the window. I’m just using common principles as an illustration ;)**
~I’d love to hear how God has turned your need or failure into something you can praise Him for. Leave a comment below – it will encourage us all!~