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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Failure: Never Final

"God ... comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."1

In his book, Beginning Again, Terry Hershey writes, "God not only says that failure is never the final word, but that your area of weakness will become your area of strength. Where you were weak and learned grace will become a means whereby you can reach out and touch the lives of others who need the same good news.

"God is not only working to heal you, but to heal others through you, to make you what Henri Nouwen called a 'wounded healer.'

"Such healing doesn't happen through the man or woman who has all the answers. It happens through the man or woman who understands pain and grace. Nouwen explains, 'For a deep understanding of his own pain makes it possible for the [wounded healer] to convert his weaknesses into strength and to offer his experience as a source of healing to those who are often lost in the darkness of their own misunderstood suffering.'"

I believe it was Ernest Hemingway who first used the phrase, "Growing strong in the broken places." The idea being that where a bone is broken and heals, it becomes the strongest part of the bone.

The same is true of our broken places—where we have been hurt, have fallen, or failed. When we bring these to Christ for his healing, his strength is then made perfect in and through our weaknesses. This is certainly true in ministering effectively to other people. They are helped, not through our brilliant logic, nor persuasive speech, but through the sharing of our struggles, and how, with God's help, we have overcome. It is a case of one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread.

This is why the Apostle Paul could say, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see my broken places and find your healing so that I, too, can be used of you to be a wounded healer. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT).
2. Romans 8:28 (NKJV).

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