"You should try growing a garden."
This excellent advice was given to me today by my friend, Brad. We were talking about something I have been struggling with lately.
If something in life or ministry goes well, I feel comfortable giving God the credit. After all, Paul planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the growth. I find this satisfying, both theologically and emotionally.
But when things go poorly, it's another story altogether. I take the blame, try to figure out what I did wrong, try to prevent failure in the future. But this doesn't square perfectly with my theology.
I'm deeply aware of my internal desire to blame God for my laziness, to pin my mistakes on him, to use him as an excuse for poor planning or innattentive execution.
But there's something deeply wrong with a theology that says that God gets all the credit and I get all the blame. Sometimes things struggle and fail and it's not my fault. Sometimes, I think failure is God's idea and fits within his larger, loving purposes. Sometimes.
That's where the conversation about the garden comes in. In a garden you can do everything right and things still die. Blameless failure.
I could use some of that.