Moses took a forty-story fall. As we pick up the biblical account, he’s a heavy-hearted, bruised-and-battered soul who has come to a sudden stop at the bottom. In a matter of mere days, he has stepped off the top of the pyramid as Pharaoh-designate and down to a bedraggled, penniless fugitive on the backside of Zipville.
Living as we do in a product-oriented culture, we like to package our faith too. We prefer to sell a slick, shrink-wrapped version of salvation that includes prosperity and peace, endless happiness here and now, and heaven by and by. While there is nothing wrong with teaching principles that can result in genuine, God-given success, there is something wrong if we neglect to mention the process, which must inevitably include times of defeat and failure.
I wouldn’t have to go back very far on my calendar to revisit a week where I missed the mark—missed the whole target—more than I hit close to the bull’s eye. And I don’t have to be a prophet to proclaim that you have experienced the same. Of course you have. You may be having such a week even as you read these words.
What I’d like to know is who erected such a happily-ever-after standard of perfection in the first place? God knows very well we aren’t able to produce perfection; that’s why Jesus, the perfect Son of God, graciously died in our place. That’s why He gave us a position of perfect righteousness in Him, reminding us by contrast that our own daily experience will constantly fall short.
If you’re waiting for a seamless, blemish-free week, friend, you’re going to wait in vain. There is no such thing. And until we learn how to derive lessons from seasons of failure and loss, we will keep repeating those failures—digging ourselves into an ever deeper hole—rather than moving on as we grow up.
What you and I need is the reminder of the process that leads to times of victory and success. Then, with memories of those golden moments shining in our minds, we’ll learn how to avoid some of those valleys, or how to climb out of them more quickly. That process, I believe, is every bit as important as the product.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.