If you ever visited the Holy Land, you would discover it is a dusty land.  It has two seasons – a rainy season that begins in the late fall and ends in the early spring.  Then, the arid season begins.  The land becomes parched and dry.  At the same time the siroccos blow from the deserts of Transjordan and Arabia.  This dusty character of the land is reflected throughout the bible.  The custom of foot washing was a courteous and practical gesture for guests who arrived with tired and dirty feet.

We too get some dust on us just by walking through life.  It never is smooth sailing all the way.  There never is a time when everything comes up roses.  To live and to try is to experience some degree of failure.  All of life is a mixture of hills and valleys, ups and downs, successes and failures.

Study biography and you will find that behind every successful person is a surprising amount of failure.  Babe Ruth is remembered in baseball for having hit 714 homeruns.  Almost no one knows or cares that he struck out 1,330 times.  But if you’re keeping score, Babe Ruth failed nearly twice as often as he succeeded.  To walk up to the plate with a bat in your hand is to experience some failure.  Life is like that.  The person who is unprepared to cope with failure is unprepared for life. 

Another way we get dust on ourselves is by falling down.  Sometimes we just make an awful mess of life; we fall flat on our faces.  It isn’t a trivial thing; it’s a painful and tragic failure.  You lose your job.  You go  bankrupt in business.  Your home breaks up.  Your children go wrong.  Failure can be a devastating and shattering experience. 

Sometimes we get dust on ourselves by sitting down in the middle of the road.  We just quit and stop trying.  This is perhaps the most tragic failure of all.  It’s one thing to lose the game; it’s another thing to forfeit.  Some people, for some reason, find it less embarrassing to never try than to try and fail. 

So how do we deal with the dust of failure?  The first thing we should do is to learn from it.  No need to brood over it.  Remorse is intended to serve one constructive purpose, and that is to set up the processes of correction.  After that regret is a negative and not a positive emotion.  Once you have learned whatever there is to learn from the failure, leave it behind.  Shake off the dust; don’t carry it with you.  Emerson wrote:  “Finish every day and be done with it.  You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt creep in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely.”

What will you do?  With Jesus’ help all is possible.  So give it a try!