Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Failure is an Option


The old cliche " Failure is not an option." is a common saying among many in the leadership world. The phrase was used in the movie Apollo 13 and attributed to Gene Kranz. Kranz was an engineer and NASA flight director. Truth be known failure is always an option. In fact, failure is apart of life.

As believers, we can misinterpret God's plans for our lives as failures. Take the story and life of Joseph. Here you have the 11th son of Jacob. He was Jacob's favorite son so much so Jacob gave him a coat of many colors. It turns out that this coat was a slap in the face to the brothers of Joseph. It meant that Jacob was preparing Joseph to be the head of the clan for the future.  This action angered the brothers which started a chain reaction of bad situations for Joseph. Joseph was thrown into a pit, he was made a slave, and then he was put into prison.

Gen 39:1  Joseph had been taken to Egypt. Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's Egyptian officials and captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

Gen 39:20  So Joseph's master arrested him and put him in the same prison where the king's prisoners were kept. While Joseph was in prison,

In the world's perspective, Joseph was a failure. He was rejected from his brothers, from his master, and appeared to be rejected from his God. Why would God allow this to happen to Josep? Did he need to be placed into a pit, become a slave, and become a prisoner? What was God's lesson? What was God's reason?

Here are the facts. When Joseph was in the pit. He was protected from the elements and from animals at night. Being in the pit allowed  him to be at the right place at the right time. If Joseph was not in the pit when the Ishmaelite's came by, he would  have went back to his father and a different set of events would have occurred.



Gen 39:21  the LORD was with him. The LORD reached out to him with his unchanging love and gave him protection. The LORD also put Joseph on good terms with the warden.

When Joseph went from the Pit to being a slave. It took time before he found favor among men again. He found favor with Potiphar and was able to make his master successful. However, Potiphar's wife had a different plan. Potiphar's wife was lustfully attracted to Joseph and wanted to have sex with him. Some declare that the name of Potiphar's wife was Zuleika. Zuleika believed, through astrology, that she would bare Joseph's children. Zuleika was bound to her desires that maybe were not all her fault. Historically, it is believed that court officials to the Pharaoh were often castrated in order to keep them from lusting after the women in the King's chamber. Potiphar could have been an eunuch of sorts which added fuel to Zuleika's lust and desire. Joseph, regardless of her hang ups, ran away from the scene of temptation and found himself in prison.

While in prison, he finds favor with the Warden and is given higher responsibility.  In prison, Joseph learned how to run a business. He learned how to manage people and daily tasks. God used this time to teach him for something greater. God always. I mean always has a greater plan. We just have to trust in him.

Joseph was 17 when he was sold into slavery from his brothers. He was 30 when he finally was freed from prison and became second in command over all of Egypt. He spent 13 years of struggling and facing, in the world's eyes, a life of failure. From pit, to slave, to prisoner and then to governor, Joseph's life is a testimony of how failure is an option. If you learn anything from this story, learn that failure is an option and an illusion. Failure is defined by the one who is in the midst of the storm not by the one who is safe in the shelter and looking to the outside.

Below are some lessons to learn about Failure.

1. PIT LIFE: Sometimes we all get thrown into a pit of life. Sometimes our eyes only see the pit but forget about what is going on the outside of the pit. On the outside of your PIT. God is bringing along the ones who will take you to your next stage in life.
2. UNLIKELY CONDUITS: God used the Ishmaelites to transport Joseph to his future destination. Sometimes God will use the most unlikely people or things to guide you to your destiny. Joseph's destiny did not stop in the PIT. It was just the place of foundation.
3. SLAVERY A CHOICE: Joseph became a slave and soon fell into favor with the man of the house. Joseph chose not to allow slavery to be his title or his condition. Sometimes we allow the stages of our life to define our circumstances. Slavery is a choice. What you choose to be shackled to; you will be shackled too. Frederick Douglass, famed ex-slave, had a different point of view on slavery.

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” 
― Frederick Douglass

4. PRISON BARS CAN BE BENT: Joseph discovered how to do many things while in prison. Prison was a place where freedom was obsolete and hope was distant. However, Joseph chose to see life without bars and live accordingly to his calling and gifting. Never allow your set backs become your excuses.

5. FAILURE CREATES INNOVATION: Joseph's "FAILURES" actually created an environment of creativity and innovation. Joseph was able to save nations because of his prior "FAILURES." Let Failures be your bridge to success.

When failure is looked at with different eyes, then you see that Failure is an option. Failure is part of God's design for the human condition. Without failure, we don't understand the true meaning of  success. Failure is the necessity of greater accomplishments. All you have to do is re-train your mind to see it as such.

" Failure is an Option!"