Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Failure is not an option

For a project that took off remarkably well and maintained its course with no major bump, we were unprepared for the crisis which developed in the last phase of the work. The crisis strained my skills in advocacy and diplomacy beyond its limits. This project was the center-piece of the 18-month job I was contracted to do a few years ago. Whatever else that I had done well will pale in significance if I was unable to stir the project to its logical conclusion.
The interim report produced by the external facilitator—an esteemed senior colleague was rejected outright by all the partners. From this point on, everything that could go wrong went wrong. Everyday presented with new problems and more difficulties to the extent that some people opined the project was jinxed as those immediately associated with it suffered one personal calamity after the other, which further hindered them from fulfilling their assigned roles.
Frustrated, desperate and feeling like my back was against the wall, I went to church on that Friday and one of the worship songs was Graham Kendrick's "To You, O Lord" The few lines I could remember resounded in my heart all the way back home — as if that was all I heard in church that day. It tugged at my heart and I knew I had to find the full lyrics. I searched the internet, found it and the scripture it was based on—Psalm 25. I meditated on the entire passage and the song. The first 3 verses became the rock upon which I anchored my prayers as I entreated God concerning the project.
“O Lord, in You do I put my hope, let me not be put to shame. My eyes are on You.”
I set up my computer at work to play the song continuously to remind me throughout the day to persist in prayers and that it is only God Who could make a way for me. There were moments when I panicked and allowed myself to picture what it might look like if we could not complete the project—the picture frightened me. I knew we could not afford to fail—it was not an option, and I could not afford to give up on the hope of finding a solution to the problems.

“Oh Lord I need You. Remember me according to Your mercy and love. To You I lift up my soul.”
I needed divinely inspired wisdom and insight to get the lead team to work together, to have the entire report rewritten and ensure ownership by the primary stakeholders without compromising the already fragile and tense relationship with the external team. I cried to the Lord for help and in His mercy, He harkened to my cry.
Against the odds, we constituted a smaller team, and we worked day and night to rewrite the entire report. At the presentation of the results to the scientific community, my co-presenter and one of the lead facilitator of the project openly declared that the project came to a successful conclusion simply because of perseverance and patience. To these I added—persistent prayer anchored on hope that does not disappoint.
Two weeks ago, I was again faced with what appeared to be an impossible situation. One of my siblings had received an interim report that connoted failure in a project  which was pivotal to the fulfillment of a dream that had taken all of us years of praying, waiting on God and lots of resources to bring this far. We had to declare by the authority of the Word of God that failure is not an option at this point.
The song - "To You, O Lord" came back to my mind and I shared it with him.
“Put your hope in the Lord, no one whose hope is in Him will ever be put to shame.” I said to him over the phone.
We entreated God on his behalf. We asked for God’s divine intervention on the merit of His limitless and infinite mercy. The light of hope seemed far away but mercy pleaded for us and said, no to failure.
“Do not let us be put to shame O Lord, to You we lift up our soul. In Your mercy arise and defend us”
In response, God raised up a Gamaliel to speak on his behalf, the interim report was reviewed, revised, and the result reversed. Our joy was boundless as we gave praise and thanks to God Who did not allow us to be put to shame.
Faced with the possibility of failure, we needed a relentless determination not to give up hope in the miraculous ability of God to turn a seemly hopeless situation around—indeed when the Lord turned again our captivity, we were like those who dreamed.

No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame
– Ps 25:3a

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