Yesterday, I experienced quite a fail. Like, flat-on-my-face-everyone-saw-it-and-there-was-no-way-of-looking-cool-while-doing-it kind of fail.
I was asked to rap at my church during worship for the song “Oceans”. I was souped because my wife was leading that song so it was our first time spitting fire together. It was gonna be lit.
So I wrote the bars. Practiced them. Internalized them. Slept with them. And then when it came time to actually perform them, God asked me to take it to another level. Normally when I have to perform, I have the habit of running through my parts in my head during worship. But this time, God was like, “Nah, bro. I got this. Just worship.” So I was like, “Alright. You got it.” And I just worshiped.
I was slotted in to do 4 services and I did the same thing all 4 services. Worship. Spit. Fire. Repeat. And all was swell and well for 3 straight services. Until…everything went south.
I hopped up for the final service, dropped my first few bars, and then I blanked.
My mind literally stopped working and I forgot every last word.
And the music kept going.
And the people kept staring.
And Emmanuel kept standing there in dead silence.
Seconds passed and all I could remember was my last line, which was “You’ve never failed before so You won’t start now.” So I said it, sat down, and basked in a boiling hot pot of irony.
Now here’s where things got interesting.
In the past, that would’ve destroyed me and I would’ve most definitely cried. But I was surprisingly relieved and it felt incredibly freeing to fail that epically. But nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder about the irony of that last line. Had God failed me?
I did everything right and it still didn’t work out. Was God trying to humble me? Was the Enemy trying to sabotage the service? Was there sin in my life?
Often times we ask these questions when something bad happens. And it reveals what I think is very faulty theology. Deep down, most of us have a very simplistic view of the world. We think that if we do good things, God is somehow obligated to do good things back to us. And if we do bad things, God is also obligated to do bad things back to us.
This seems to stem from a dualistic view of the universe where everything is ruled by two forces. There’s good. And there’s evil. There’s God. And there’s Satan. So if something good happens, it’s God’s fault. If something bad happens, it’s Satan’s fault.(Or God’s, depending on your mood.) Either way, there’s usually one of two options.
So you study really hard and pray to pass your exam and you fail. It’s God’s fault. Or Satan is trying to thwart your plans of academic world domination.
But reality is a little more complex than that. Sometimes bad things happen and it has nothing to do with God or Satan. Sometimes bad things happen because bad things happen. It’s just life. You didn’t fail the class because of God or Satan. You failed because it was harder than you thought. You didn’t get a cold because of God or Satan. You got a cold because it was cold outside.
So when you do everything right and pray that God makes everything work out, there’s no guarantee that He’s going to do what you want. And if He doesn’t, you can’t blame Him.
So why did I mess up so epically in front of my whole church even though I thought I did everything right? Because I’m human. And humans mess up.
God doesn’t fail. We just live in a world where He leaves room for failure to happen. So much room that it sometimes looks like He’s the one who fails.
So the next time you have all your ducks in a row and all the ducks suddenly die a random horrible death, don’t stress blaming God, Satan, or yourself. Realize that sometimes, crap happens. And ducks die.
And in a weird, almost masochistic way, that can be really freeing.