Failure Is The Only Option | Guest Article by Dan Macha

The true story told in Director Ron Howard’s 1995 film “Apollo 13” stirs my soul.  As it heads toward the moon, the Apollo spacecraft is crippled by a meteor. Nobody knows how to get the crew back to earth alive. But Flight Director Gene Kranz played by Ed Harris concludes the first crisis meeting with the ringing declaration, “Failure is not an option!” Then he masterfully drives his ground support team until the three astronauts safely splash down.  The Apollo 13 Mission is therefore deemed a “successful failure.”

When Nancy and I visited  the Kennedy Space Center in 2007,  I bought an Apollo 13 cap from the gift shop that bore the words, “Failure is not an Option.” When she started chemo a few months later, I wore that hat to every session. Unfortunately, those treatments failed to rescue her from cancer.  That mission was more of a crash landing than a splashdown. 

Failure is not only an option but an inevitable one. Living as broken people on a fallen planet, we constantly encounter failure, both in ourselves and in others. Still, our pride leaves us “failure resistant.” We hate to own up to our missteps. We often react poorly to the failure of others.    

Let me go further. Failure is not only inescapable. It is necessary. The Christian walk takes us down the path of failure.  Confronting our failure creates the space for Jesus to walk into our lives with his redeeming love.  When we own our sins in confession and repentance we are led to his perfect righteousness.  When we take our reluctance to forgive others to the foot of the Cross, we find the path to his perfect love.   When our dreams for work or ministry crash, we gain pure Kingdom Vision. Even when chemo fails to heal those we love, we look forward to our reunion in heaven.  All these apparent dead ends lead us back to our eternal destination.  The  “failure” of the Crucifixion of Jesus ushered in the supreme triumph of His resurrection.  Jesus is now redeeming all things. That is why I remind you that “Failure is the only option!”

Pray that we can quickly acknowledge our failures and find victory in Jesus.

As I recruit and mentor the next generation of Serge workers, pray that I can teach them how past failures can lead us to the path of fruitful ministry. – Dan Macha

Dan grew up on a Kansas farm. After graduating from Kansas State with a degree in History in 1975, he moved to Philadelphia to attend Westminster Seminary. From 1983 until 1992, Dan and his family served with World Harvest in Dublin. After returning to the US, Dan joined the mobilization team and was an active mobilizer until 2010. He also served as an Elder at New Life Glenside from 2000-2010.

After about 8 years away, Dan rejoined Serge in October 2018 and now mobilizes individuals and churches to engage in Christ’s global cause. Dan and his late wife Nancy raised three children- Leah, Josh, and Karen- who have given them eight grandchildren. Dan loves baseball, history, and biking when he is not watching films.



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“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing. Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing” – Martin Luther, ca. 1527