“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan
Sometimes we really blow it. Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of a life-changing failure that can’t be undone. There will be real consequences. The boss wants to talk to you ASAP. Your spouse wants to have a long-overdue serious conversation. We have failed in the past. We could fail today. Fortunately. according to the clock, we’ve been blessed with a new day. What do we do with this new day to cope with failure? How do we turn failure into comebacks?
When we make mistakes, we sometimes come to the conclusion that we finally did it this time. But we learn from Scripture that favor with God doesn’t depend on us and our wisdom, or goodness, faithfulness, or thankfully our ability to prevent failures. Proverbs 24:16 tells us, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again….” Daniel 11:35 (NIV) adds, “Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end…” And Job 4:4 (NIV) adds “Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.” God isn’t waiting for you to get your act together, to try again and get it right this time. He created us and He knows we are far from perfect. He knows we will be over our head and we will fail. “The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.” (Psalm 145:14)
In the midst of our failures it is comforting to know that God will never allow us to get outside His grace. We all have had our failures that we would do differently if we had it to do over. But God can use those failures to get us where He wants us to go. God can use our successes and failures for His glory.
The lesson for us is that even if we have failed, we can’t let that failure paralyze us and keep us from following where God leads us. God will equip us and empower us to do what He is leading us to do. Success is not up to us, it is up to God. What is up to us is to get up after failure and go where God leads. Look at Galatians 6:9: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” I wonder how many of us let the fear of failure keep us from getting back up and causing us to give up too quickly.
When you think failure is final, remember that God is for us. He is always here for us, always here to guide us, teach us, help us to turn in the right direction. He will always love us. God wants us to be a part of what He’s doing. Of course God can accomplish everything in spite of us, but He’d rather accomplish it with us. He invites us to be a part of what He’s doing even if we fail along the way.
- Can you think of a time in your life when you were scared to do something you knew you had to do, but you went through with it anyway? How did you feel afterward?
- Knowing God and His Word allows us to face our fears with faith. Why? How can you do this in practical ways?