walk of faith

Beloved, Your failure is progress to Him.

Before I totally move forward to 2017, let me tell you a bit of what my feelings for 2016 are like: it was a collection of small victorious “ahh”-moments that I would describe as Eureka. It’s the extreme joy one experiences after discovering a solution to a problem. It’s that triumphant moment and all you can do to release this joy is to shout ‘AHA!’.

This feeling reminds me of school. It’s like I’m holding my pen and calculator again, preparing for our Business Math weekly quiz the next day. No matter how I think I’m prepared enough for the problems, upon receiving the test paper, I’d stare at it and think, “Why don’t I know how to answer this?? I studied this.”

Although I’d given it my best shot, my test results would tell me that I failed. The class would review the papers (in case of corrections) while our professor solved the equation in front of the class.

The solution was taught to us once more. Unlike when our professor had first discussed it, the class would easily relate to how it was solved, now that we have encountered the problem. We would utter our “oohs” and “ahhs” and realized where we went wrong. There were still some of us who would not understand it.

So when the professor is not around, the unspoken responsibility of teaching the others went to the students who had well understood the lesson. I believe some of my classmates even made time after school hours to conduct a group study, just to make sure everyone really knew the lesson. (But of course, we still had to study on our own just to master it.)

On quarterly examinations (the exams that mattered most), we would encounter familiar problems that were already given on the quiz prior the big exam. By that time, we were more confident to solve them because they were almost the same equations (although more difficult) which the professor previously explained to us step by step. I can clearly recall the sound of complete amazement uttered by the class. Oh, what joy.

There are a handful of lessons I’ve picked up from this experience. Upon remembering it, I realized these are learnings I can use practically even today.

If the school is the institution for those who thirst for knowledge, Church is the place for people who are hungry for a fresh start in life. With God being my teacher, I was being sharpened again and again until I have shifted my view to another angle. A change in perspective. That’s what the year 2016 taught me. Here are some points that I’d like to emphasize:

I can’t live just by knowing. I live by doing.

In education, practical application teaches us far more things than theories can. I can study the laws, the systems, the processes over and over, and still not be able to fully understand it.

It’s just like life – one can’t live just by knowing. We have to apply and live out what we believe in to fully grasp the entirety of the idea. Our actions and lifestyle are reflections of our beliefs. If we declare that we are redeemed by God, it comes with the willingness to surrender our old ways so we can experience a changed life. We can’t tell people to forgive and live peaceably with all, while when we look into our hearts, we find that we have bitterness and anger ourselves. We can’t deceive ourselves and live double lives. We live by doing.

My failures are not “just” failures.

Failures don’t mean I have been unsuccessful. Failures are reminders that I have tried and persevered. Each frustration has taught me to endure and to try again.

In this world where everyone is conditioned to prove themselves worthy, we measure our value based on our achievements and accomplishments. The bigger success, the more secure we feel. And when we get recognition, we feel that we are relevant. We are needed. However, when we fail, we feel small. We look down at ourselves and we think we are not enough. We feel useless.

But think about it, failures are humbling. If I haven’t experienced failures, I wouldn’t experience the triumphs. If we don’t feel the hurt, we wouldn’t know what it’s like to be healed. Some lessons couldn’t be taught by words, but only by the wisdom gained by experiencing how it is to fall.

I will keep on failing if I depend on my own understanding.

If I haven’t met someone with wisdom to correct my shattered perspective, I would’ve probably failed a lot more times. There is nothing better than accepting the fact that on my own, I am helpless.

In my journey as a Christian, The Church community has guided me well in knowing the will of God, my ultimate teacher. Failures teach us is that on our own, we cannot do much. Only by God’s grace, we can take joy in being weak. I have learned some and unlearned some. These experiences have changed my thinking and humbled me. These are disciplines that helped us be more willing to possess a teachable heart.

I am learning step by step—slowly but surely.

Remember the failed quiz before my triumph on the big test? That’s just like life. I was able to comprehend what it was that God was revealing to me because I have experienced a glimpse of the problem. Each time God is telling me something, it’s piece by piece.

If every solution and every problem were given to me all at once, I may not be able to handle it. I was, and still am, being prepared for the bigger plate, the bigger challenges, the bigger picture. It sure is a slow process, but what matters is that I am making progress, in the time He has appointed.

The knowledge of the Word should be passed on.

There is no formula for a well-lived life. It is only through the Scripture that we can know how it is to live a life pleasing to God. Like the students in my class who understood it earlier than I did, the Church has helped me grasp what God’s teaching was about. They taught me what they know and with that, I should also share with others.

Each of us has a different pace at comprehension, what’s important is we plant. And this is what discipleship is about. Our lives become testimonies of how we experience God’s love firsthand and we pass it on. We tell everyone of the good news. We share the love we receive from God, and overflow. We pay it forward.

Our God is a faithful teacher. He teaches us every day, without ceasing. Today, I encourage you to live out God’s word and lead others by His example.

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