Failure

Proverbs 24:16  For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. 

Jude 24  Now to him Who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.   

Jude makes it clear that God is able to keep us from slipping and stumbling.  However, He also knows that every failure has seeds of growth.  He knows that apart from failure, we would have no need of His forgiveness, His communion, or His help.  In His hands, failure can become one of life’s greatest teachers.  His hands can use failure to refine us in ways successes cannot.  Failure can reach down into the very depths of our souls and expose pockets of selfishness, pride, etc.  It makes us more aware of our own limitations and humbles us.  It increases our sensitivity to others and reminds us that God is not finished with us yet but has promised He will complete the work He has begun in us.

Peter is a good example of someone who fell.  He had boldly told Jesus, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble. “ (Matt. 26:33)  He insisted he would never fail, but Jesus stopped Peter’s bravado short when He told him failure would indeed come that very night.   Most of us know how Peter failed Jesus that night by denying Him three times.  Frankly, Peter’s failure had begun the moment he became overconfident and insisted he would never fail. 

Sometimes our first response to failure can be to focus on the failure.  “My ministry is over,” “God will never be able to use me again,” “My kids will be damaged for life.”  Although we must be concerned for the present, we must be careful not to focus on it exclusively.  We need to allow God to help us put failure into the proper perspective. 

Failure is never final until a person quits trying.  As we continue to try, failure is really only a setback and an opportunity to learn from our mistakes.  Proverbs contrasts the righteous person and the wicked person.   The righteous may fall time and time again, but he or she gets back up and keeps trying.  When the wicked person falls, however, he or she is led into a downward spiral that causes calamity.  There is no recovery, no hope, no more trying.

Failure is a part of the human experience.  It can be painful but it can also be a great teacher.  God’s definition of success does not preclude failure, but it does include a willingness to refuse to quit, to learn from our mistakes, and to try again.  Failure can be our greatest teacher.  It can destroy us, or it can immobilize us, or it can simply teach us a lesson about what not to do.  It can rub off our rough edges and soften our hearts.  It can be the first step towards being a great success.  God can use our failures, whatever they may be, to make us the people He wants us to be.

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5 thoughts on “Failure

  1. RichardD says:

    Sandy – Our God is great and good. I have a close friend who stumbled in his ministry and thought everything was over. But God moved him to a new level of ministry and I think he is being used in many more ways now than ever before. God doesn’t ever let us down!

  2. Sandy says:

    Richard,
    You are so right. It’s a good thing He is God and I am not. His record is perfect. Thank God for His grace.

  3. Lynn says:

    There is a couple whose name escapes me right now, who do a lot of public speaking, or used to. They had a baby who was under a year old, who was seated in the bathtub, and the mother ran away to check on some barking dogs, and was only gone for a very short time, but that was enough time for her son to drown and not be able to be revived.

    They have other children, and they are qualified to speak on failure and forgiveness, both from God, and for each other.

    They said they had an acronym — FIGO — which means, “Forget it and go on.” I like that. It reminds me of Paul saying,” Forgetting that which is behind, I press on . . .”

    Great entry, Sandy.

    How was the wedding?

  4. Sandy says:

    Hi Lynn,
    The wedding was beautiful. Now my children are married and that’s feeling a bit odd 🙂 but overall everything was wonderful. I’m glad to be back home and will be even more glad to get back into my regular routine. I’m hoping to be more online now as soon as I get everything caught back up. Thanks for your prayers. How’s your daughter doing?

  5. Lynn says:

    They are finished with the two VBS ministries and all the church presentations they were scheduled to do — quite an exhausting schedule — and one chaperone and one student got sick and are now in the hospital, but we are glad for them to be out of the jungle town and back in the main city, so they can receive care. The sickness did not stop the ministry, and they feel encouraged by all they have been able to do, and the response of the children has blessed them, so I’ve heard through the phone chain.

    Tomorrow they will spend the whole day resting and sightseeing, and perhaps some open air oportunities for the mime skits they do, and then on Wednesday, more rest and they need to be at the airport late in the afternoon. Lord willing, we will see them Thursday, early afternoon, back where we are!

    Please keep praying for a safe trip home for them. Thanks for asking.

    I’m glad the wedding was beautiful, and went well.

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