It will come as no surprise that Republican candidate Donald Trump is a bad loser, asking for a re-run when he came second in the Iowa caucus. Failure is intolerable, especially when you are used to getting your own way. From the school playground to the football stands, you are damned by the taunt: “loser”. So you avoid admitting failure at all costs. Like Arsenal’s Manager, Arsène Wenger, criticised again this week for blaming the ref rather than admit his players failed to make the best of their chances.
It’s made me wonder that perhaps, as Christians, we are asked to be losers for God? Like the ninth-century monk Saint Anskar, remembered this week. He was sent to bring the Christian message to the Scandinavian countries. And he became known as an example of persevering in the face of discouragement. Apparently the Nordic people were very fixed in their pagan ways!
In the Church, we can often find ourselves doing things where success is not obvious. And some things that feel like a simple failure. But maybe that’s because God defines success, not us? I did a school assembly this week that didn’t go well. Although I’d planned carefully, in the end it just felt like chaos. Yet, as the children walked out, one little boy confided in me: “These God stories always make me feel happy.” So I thought I’d failed, but perhaps not. And perhaps that’s what it feels like to be a loser for God?
By the Revd Poppy Hughes, Rector of the Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne and the Benefice of Avening with Cherington.