For those who have attempted the delicate system of making great pancakes, the sacrificial pancake is familiar. First, it takes the perfect blend of ingredient and texture of the batter to create the beloved breakfast item. Then, even as the batter is of utmost quality–smooth, with just the right thickness, and no impediments like air bubbles to inhibit a perfect stack of goodness– the first pancake of the batch usually suffers from deformation as it prepares the griddle to produce the rest.
Life is kind of like that. Sometimes before we succeed there are requisite failures that help pave the way. Many times in my life God has allowed failure in my first attempt at something. Henry Ward Beecher said, “One’s best success comes after his greatest disappointments.”
I don’t like the taste of failure! Failure to me in the past has always been bitter, but it has taken the wisdom of God to teach me otherwise.
Jesus, knowing in advance that Peter would fail, told the Apostle in Luke 22 31-34:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift youas wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. ”But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (NIV)
Jesus had big plans for Peter as a leader. So in Matthew 16: 18, Jesus reveales His assignment to the disciple:
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (NIV)
But Jesus knew that Peter, before he could become a success, needed to fail first. In Luke 22:15-19, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter said yes, each time with growing intensity. Finally Jesus said, “Feed my Sheep.”
Like Peter, we may have all of the fervor, preparation and education for the life ahead of us. But sometimes failure is the best way to temper us, and humility will create a strong foundation for success. Just like the sacrificial pancake, failure is but one