Day 19: Falling Bridges, Death Rays, and God’s Biggest Failure

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For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 

John 3:16-17

Do you ever watch fail videos online? If you’re not familiar with the term “fail videos,” think of America’s Funniest Videos. Just the other night my family watched a series of Wheel of Fortune fails where people would try and solve the puzzles but to hilarious failure. One woman’s answer of “wood burning microwave” is one of my favorites (it was supposed to be fireplace.)

Less funny but equally interesting to me are architectural fails. Just South of where I used to live in Washington state, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a suspension bridge that connected the port city of Tacoma, Washington with the Kitsap Peninsula. It was the third longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened to the public on July 1, 1940, but it closed just four months later after a catastrophic collapse. The cause of the collapse was the use of inadequate girders that were used to keep construction costs low. 

One other building fail that makes me shake my head is the Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas. It has a feature no other hotel there has—a death ray. The hotel opened in 2009 and featured a unique, curved shape. The problem was its design collected solar rays and focused them to the hotel pool deck. Guests laying out in the sun would get singed, and one man even complained the death ray burned his hair and melted his plastic tote bag! Pretty big failures!

Have you ever considered the fact that at the point when the disciples saw Jesus Christ crucified, his life was a complete failure in everyone’s mind but God’s? All that he’d said and all that he’d done seemed to be a complete waste, even a lie. His followers’ hearts were broken. To the world looking on, the cross was a hideous failure. But after three days of grieving they saw differently, and suddenly God’s plan became clearer. Their hearts saw the truth and their lives changed. They looked beyond the circumstance that had paralyzed them and saw behind it into God’s plan. Anytime you can catch a glimpse of God’s plan, you are set free, and so were the disciples—set free to believe and to trust even in the appearance of colossal failure.

In this life you are bound to fail and have others fail you. You are bound to want what you can never have. You are going to get hurt, to fall down, to cry, to rage. You are going to have moments of loneliness and despair. You are going to feel rejected and dismissed. And if you see only what is in front of you, then you, like the disciples, might lose faith. You might wonder where God went. You might question his existence or his love. But if you can have faith in a Father whose love never fails, if you can find comfort in knowing you are his, if you can feel the love in the sacrifice of God’s Son, then you can not only survive your failure but thank God for being with you in it.

Questions to ponder

Can you think of a funny fail video that makes you laugh? What was it and why do you think we like to laugh at failure?

When you fail, how do you usually feel about your failure and how do you react?

If the world sees Jesus on the cross as a big failure, what does that teach you about how God accomplishes things? How much more can you thank him for a love that never fails?

Share your faith journey!

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