Failure isn’t an option

So often, we’re consumed by what it looks like to love God. Are we sacrificing enough of our fleshly desires to please Him? Do we persist in showing Him our gratitude by earnestly seeking to know, and follow, Him with each day? Will we ever figure out how to rightly love others, with consistency? After all, these questions fall under the two greatest commandments: to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-31). The discouragement comes into play, or at least it ought to if we have an ounce of humility, when we fail to love Him and those He has put on our path. Are we living out these commands right? Of course, not always. How can we perform them more regularly (not said with any hint of the false works-righteousness intent), with integrity before God? Here, I’d like to take a breather from pressing on this point and, instead, focus on God’s love for us. I’m approximately a third of the way through the Psalms and the adjective, “unfailing,” repetitively places itself before the word love in describing His love (Psalm 6:4; 13:5; 21:7; 31:16; 32:10; 33:5, 18, 22; 44:26; 51:1; 52:8). Surely, we are closer to comprehending what love means, is, and how to do it; however, we are unable to grasp the concept of loving, void of failures. 

We fail to love God and we fail to love others everyday. Some days, our success in loving is seen by how we live into love, but even on those days, our failures are many. We disregard loving God by following His clear and concise commands just as consistently as we display unloving gestures to others. We sin against God and, in our sin, we trespass against others. The next day, we get up and try again. We try to do better at this love thing and we still fail. During low points, we give up on trying and give in to this sin condition we’re in. That’s what is so profound about God’s love being described as unfailing; His manner of loving is foreign as we are all too familiar with a love that fails. God never has to try again, He never has to do it better the next time, He never needs to summon up the supposed-to-do attitude, and, in all of this never-ing, God always succeeds in love.

By now, you may be wondering where I’m going with this. This is not an unknown attribute of our Creator. Any Christian would readily claim this as truth and move on with their day, into that perpetual roller coaster ride of emotions, actions, and inactions all while striving to stay on the love track. My agenda here is to bring to light the incomprehensible love God is, does, has, and shows His beloved by it all being unfailing. One phrase synonymous with unfailing is “without error” and this is where we can ascribe the entire script of our lives to how He loves those who are His. Have you felt that God has been silent at some point? Or that He has brought upon tumultuous times that perpetuate thoughts of being the victim of circumstances? Perhaps it’s the prayers that seem to go unanswered or, worse, ignored? Well, the Bible is telling us that, regardless of how we feel about whatever is going amiss, or even when things appear to be going as we’d wish, all of these happenings are the product of His love for us. He’s not taking a break from showering us with love when we assume we’re unseen and feeling unloved because of what our faulty emotions are telling us, simply because His love never fails, never ceases, and is always without error.

If this is difficult to digest due to certain unpleasant conditions, pay even closer attention to the context of several of the Psalm verses referenced above. One other telling word was written by David as he penned how unfailing is God’s love: trust. It’s almost as though David is not only attempting to convince his readers of this fact, but also himself. To feel the wealth of God’s unfailing love takes trust that all is as He wills it to be. Jesus tells us that even the very hairs on our head are all numbered, yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of our Father (Matthew 10:29-30). Do we truly trust that this is so? If we do affirm it, this trust can consume every fiber of our being as it ought to. Even though we cannot possibly be unfailing in love, as God is, we can grow to be unfailing in our trust of Him. Paul confirms this confidence in his letter to the Philippians, by writing, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (1:6).

Although we can’t fulfill the duties of wholly loving God and others completely while on earth, we can reach the summit of fully trusting in the Lord, believing with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that His love is unfailing even though ours isn’t capable of being so. When we get caught up in trying so desperately to learn how to love in a God-glorifying way, we may benefit even further by exploring the avenue that leads us to trusting what His love is. That His is a love that can’t fail, one that doesn’t even fathom the thought of failure in its doing and, in trusting that this is a firm truth, we’re increasingly able to see how He utilizes the myriad failures in love we experience as an overarching method of Him loving us. Our love for Him, and for others, depends not on how well we perform it, but on how deeply we trust that His love is unfailing.

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