Many of us remember the space shuttle Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986, when seven crew members died in an unspeakable tragedy. As investigators looked into the reason behind the disaster, they discovered that its primary cause was the failure of two rubber O-rings. It was amazing that something as magnificent as the space shuttle could be destroyed by something as relatively insignificant as two rubber rings.
In the Old Testament story of Samson, we see a breakdown in smaller areas of his life that led to an explosion. A progression of little things turned into one really big thing. Samson made a series of compromises that brought him to a place of vulnerability, where he ended up taking a one-way trip to Delilah’s barber shop.
Samson had amazing potential that was largely wasted. Raised up by God to be a leader over Israel, he was almost like a superhero. God had gifted him with superhuman qualities. And while superheroes are fictitious characters, Samson was real. He was an actual man who was gifted with superhuman strength. Mentally, Samson was sharp, clever, and very alert. Spiritually, he was strong in some ways—but in other ways he was a wreck.
He could have been one of Israel’s greatest leaders, but instead Samson became an example of how not to live. In fact, his life is one of the greatest paradoxes of the Bible.
Samson made some mistakes that we, too, can make. He had a good beginning, but he did not have a good ending. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow pointed out, “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”
We are all going to sin and fail at times, but let’s fail forward. Let’s learn from our mistakes and not do the same things again.