Three strikes. Odds are that I am not going to get a hit. Statistically, baseball players fail more than they win when they are at the plate. The ratio of losing to winning is not even close! In cricket, it is a single strike that ends your stand. With one ball in the zone, you are finished! No mercy, no second chances, do not even think of a third.
Life likes to remind me that there are certain failures that are fatal. Politicians that are caught sometimes survive; more likely they are asked to resign. Teachers that make a mistake, in or out of school, often lose their jobs without any consideration. Even the rhetoric of many spiritual writers take to the harsh reality of failure. David’s words are not unique; “Fail the test and you’re out, out in a hail of firestones, Drinking from a canteen filled with hot desert wind.” (Psalm 11.6)
In the angst of watching a favorite team lose, it is easy to forget that failure is not the end of the story. There is a defining moment that happens right after failure. What does one do next?
I love watching NASCAR. One reason is that failure, a driver’s, pit crew, or even a spotter, can end the race but often does not. The team fights on! Being at the back does not mean that you cannot move up, get the lucky dog, and fight on the lead lap. The will to compete is critical. The ability to work through adversity is required. If one has both, they one is still in the game with a chance to place and occasionally win.
You and I have a secret pit crew anchoring our journey. As corny as it sounds, God is on our side. Life is our spotter, willing to coach, advise, and direct. When we listen, we often learn and growth. When we ignore, we repeat yesterday’s mistakes. Failures are common. The real question is what happens with them. We are not out of life. We can compete. The opportunity is here.