It points to the fact that we are imperfect, incomplete; that our reach exceeds our grasp. Yet hidden in that very fact is a positive. I did try. I learned something. Thomas Edison famously said: I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Our failures are great teachers, if we are open to the lessons. As it says in our Sunday Service for Children, we learn so that we may understand and work in the world. We are here to find truth, to expand our understanding of reality, to make a difference in the world. The fact that failure is often humbling is perhaps a lesson in itself – we are not yet all that we want to be. But we may have just found the 9,999th way that doesn’t work – one step closer to a way that does.
As Saul, St. Paul believed that Jesus couldn’t have been the Messiah. Jesus’ life ended as a failure – he was tortured and executed as a common criminal. Therefore Saul knew he couldn’t have been God the All Powerful’s Son. But what looked like a failed life became The Life, as Paul came to know at Damascus.
Christ came to the earth for the express purpose of becoming a human being. He came to experience, in the flesh, how human beings fail. How they learn. How they find truth. He explored the depths of human existence. And since he is an eternal being, what he did, he does eternally. He experiences the depths of humanity so that He, eternally present, can be here with us when we fail. When we learn. When we find truth, which is ultimately, Him.