The voice of the Holy Spirit cries out; the voice of God calls out for the simple and youths to receive wisdom and instruction.
It seems that the pride of youth is in ignoring the possibility of failure, and by failure I mean not heeding wise counsel. We strive to look independent when we are completely dependent. We cover up failure because failure needs a Savior. We cover up failure with our strength and past victories, only to keep looking as Youth would have us look.
In a letter to me on my thirteenth birthday, my grandfather told me to pray and ask God to help me to never have to live with the regret of making wrong choices. At the time I remember thinking that this advice was strange.
“Regret of making wrong choices? I don’t think I’ll ever do that.”
I still did pray it when I remembered, but I never developed a habit of doing so. As the years have passed, I find myself praying that more often and not finding it strange at all. I realize now that I found his counsel strange because I had no fear of making wrong choices – I had, even while not fully realizing it, assumed I had no need of a savior.
Now, having my own pile of regrets, and by the mercy of God, I see my need for the saving grace of God. Thus, it seems that God matures us by letting us stumble – as a father lets go of his son’s hand as he is learning to walk. The boy’s legs tremble as he stands, and after taking a few steps he stumbles, falls to the ground, and begins to cry, until he realizes his father set him back on his feet again.
My brother-in-law occasionally asks a question of his kids during a dramatic scene that has stuck with me. “Did you hurt your pride?” Isn’t that the reason failure is so painful and devastating? Jesus crushes our pride, and it hurts. Yet our stumbling is His answering of our prayers for humility with a loud resounding “YES!” For the Holy Spirit fills the place of that pride, and God sets us back on our feet having created in us a spirit of repentance – a broken and contrite heart. This is how Paul could see Christ’s strength in the midst of his own weaknesses.
In closing, I exhort you to heed instruction, for that is the way of wisdom and humility. Whether that is the sharpening instruction of a friend, the loving counsel of parents, or pure honey from the Word of God, receive it and obey it with joy, for it is life to your soul and strength to your bones, as the Scriptures declare. And when you fail look to Christ and learn from your failure, instead of covering it up or becoming angry. Jesus Christ died, rose and ascended for you. Receive the gift of His salvation and “keep on keeping on.” One day you will fail no more.