I’m not good at going to church. I’m pretty lazy. Once a week though, I go to the little chapel near the church. The chapel is open 24-7 and the members of the chapel each devote one hour to prayer. They are each assigned a one-hour time slot equivalent to time spent in the Garden of Gethsemane to spend with God.
My time slot is 3 am to 4 am. It’s supposed to be the devil’s hour, or the exact opposite of the 3 pm time of death of Jesus. So I figure that is as good a time as any to try praying, although my prayers are admittedly probably not that great. I spend about 10 minutes in actual prayer before I run out of things to say, I do general petitions for folks (the homeless, the sick, the elderly, immigrants, etc.) 15 minutes doing a rosary, and then I get off my knees, sit in the chair and look around the little chapel. Generally, I got nothing to do for the rest of the hour so I wander to the back of the chapel to the little religious books library.
The library is full of all sorts of religious books. Many of them are kinda dry or boring. Some are convoluted and some are definitely too flowery for my tastes. But occasionally, I find a real diamond in the rough, a high quality read. I always close my eyes and let my fingers wander over the book tops in a sort of eenie-meanie-minie-mo fashion until they stop on one particular book. I figure maybe if I do it this way, God will lead me to something I need to read.
I pick up the book, take it to my chair, and once again I just close my eyes and let it fall open in my lap. Again, I superstitiously think well maybe, God will let it fall to the exact words I gotta hear. I know. It’s kinda silly. But who knows, maybe it works…
Today I picked up a book by David Jeremiah in the Billy Graham Library Selection Series. It was called Slaying the Giants in Your Life. Apparently, in the book, the giants the author speaks of are not physical giants like Goliath but the giants of anger, loneliness, discouragement, etc.
The giant that my hands opened to was the giant of failure. It was Chapter 11 called Facing Your Failure. It’s kinda something I needed to hear since some of my projects and work and stuff aren’t doing as well as I had hoped.
This book was so easy to read and cited a lot of great and fascinating people in their experiences with failure from Abraham Lincoln to Saint Peter to Charlie Brown to Michael Jordan. I really recommend the book from the chapter I read. Here is a small excerpt:
“The lanky, quiet boy never had much of a chance. He had to work from the age of seven, when his family joined the homeless. His mother died two years after that. As he grew to adulthood, the young man held a series of small jobs until his twenties, when he was fired as a store clerk. But the idea of operating a store appealed to him. At age 23, he took out a loan that would enable him to buy a small business. But the run of bad luck continued; his partner died 3 years later. Now the young man’s debt was more than doubled and it looked like he would spend years just repaying it. He fared no better in relationships. Approaching his 30s, he was a bachelor. He proposed to one young lady after 4 years of dating, but she turned him down. It was just another failure; he was used to that. Twice he ran for Congress and twice, he unsurprisingly lost. To put it kindly, his credentials were unimpressive. But at the age of 37, with more than half his life over, he was finally elected to an office – only to be subsequently voted out! He failed in 2 separate runs for the Senate. He failed in a Vice Presidential try. No one was more conscious of his legacy of failures. “I am now the most miserable man living,” he said. “Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell.” Some would say he didn’t know when to quit – and most of us are glad he didn’t. For at the age of 51, Abraham Lincoln became probably the greatest of all American Presidents.”
Another passage in the chapter, cites Michael Jordan, the famous basketball player:
“I’ve missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot, and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life…………and that is how I succeed.”
In another paragraph, the author speaks of the best coaches in the history of sports:
“Anyone in the world of sports will tell you where the best coaches are found. They’re found on the benches. They are found among the players that were beaten out by the better athletes. A 3rd stringer can sit on the bench and dwell on his/her failure, or keep trying, keep hustling, and keep learning everything there is to know about the sport. That’s why the best coaches have often been the more obscure athletes in their youth. They fell down and they got back up.”
There’s a lot more material to that chapter and also to the entire book itself. It was a good read that I wanted to share with you. I really liked the chapter so much that I came home and took the time to write this brief review. Here is the book: