There are two opponents in the ring and they are engaged in a ferocious fight. In one corner, there is a large and formidable fighter. He is indeed an imposing figure! He is known by name different names, but today he is wearing his favorite name in his belt: “FEAR.”
In the other corner there is a much smaller fighter. He is so small by comparison, that his opponent and most spectators are having a great time mocking him. There is nothing intimidating about him and even his name is a girl’s name: “FAITH.”
The bell rings and the fight begins. FEAR erupts into a roar that sends chills to everyone in the stadium … and beyond. He advances confidently against his tiny adversary, relishing in his imminent victory. FAITH stands his ground and does not flee from the enemy.
And then, it happens: One punch and the battle is over. The small fighter stands victorious over the large monster, who is becoming smaller by the minute. You see, FAITH was small but solid, but FEAR was filled with mostly smoke.
This imaginary (and yet real) fight reminds us of the encounter between David and Goliath. The giant used the weapons of fear and intimidation effectively against Israel’s army, turning all the Hebrew soldiers into scared little children.
Goliath wreaked havoc for many days, until a small youth appeared in the scene and dared to face and later on, defeat him. David represents faith in the same measure that Goliath is a symbol of fear, and on that day, FAITH won (read 1 Samuel 17).
Many years later, one man battled against FEAR, evil, sadness, doubt and all the hosts of darkness and won, not only a battle (like David) but the entire war. The whole world fought against Him and He won. Death and sin fought against Him and He won. The devil and his armies fought against Him and he won.
He cried: “it is finished” (John 19:30) and this means that He won. He completed the mission; He defeated all his enemies and He rescued us from hell. There is nothing to fear anymore for those who follow Jesus: The Conqueror.
All we need is to have faith in Him. It might be small like a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), but if it is anchored in the Rock, nothing will move us (Matthew 7:24, 25). I have been attacked relentlessly in recent weeks and I would have been defeated, if not for that small (yet steadfast) faith in Jesus.
I am weak and my enemies are vicious and strong, but I will walk (or crawl if I have to) by faith (Romans 1:17) and God will lead me to victory
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
The story of the apostles of Christ was filed with many and varied failures. They failed to understand the teachings of their Master (Luke 18:34); they also experienced failure at exorcising demons (Matthew 17:17-21).
Furthermore the disciples failed to exercise humility (Mark 9:34) when they argued about who was the greatest among them. They also fell asleep at the greatest hour of agony of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:43) and all of them abandoned Him.
Peter denied Him
Judas betrayed Him
Thomas doubted him.
One of their greatest failures is found in John 21. The group of disciples went fishing (instead of waiting at Jerusalem) and caught nothing. This was the second time it had happened (Luke 5).
But this was a “good” failure because Jesus was there. There was a lesson to be learned and a blessing to be received. A “failure” with Jesus by your side is no failure at all. I rather fail and have Jesus in my heart than to win this world and lose my soul.
A good failure is one that it is ordained by God so that He can show his glory. This is what happened to the blind man (John 9) and to the patriarch Job. This is what happened here in John 21, as the tired and frustrated disciples were unable to catch even one fish, but when Jesus spoke (and they followed his command) everything changed: There was more fish than they could handle in their boat.
When you fail at anything, don’t look at it as an abject failure, but as an opportunity for God to work in our lives and show his glory. What we call “failures” are in fact doors that God is closing in order to protect us, or doors that He is opening to bring different blessings upon our lives.
Paul spoke of one of his greatest failures in this way:
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
He, who had been used of God to bring healing and salvation to the multitudes, couldn’t heal himself. He had to apply what he had written in Romans 8:28,
“And we know that all things work together for good (even our failures) to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 Emphasis added)