I am humbly writing this post to encourage anyone who has failed, or is failing, or will fail. Getting and maintaining a healthy understanding of failure is important. We need a balanced perspective based on scripture to avoid going through needless worries, disappointments, and frustration. Armed with this understanding, we are able to press on in life to keep pursuing our God-given dreams as Christians.
To escape the shock that failure sometimes brings, we should expect it to happen as we mature. Failure is inevitable. However, no matter the form our failure takes, we should not allow it to define our destiny perpetually. It is best when we allow failure be a temporary experience from which we move on to face our future with hope.
One evening, we had gathered for a church program. When our leader was ministering to us, he asked a question about how Esther in the Bible became a queen. I had read and studied the book of Esther, so I was sure that I could answer the question. I raised my hand and was called to answer, but to my surprise, when I stood up to answer, I could not remember the narrative precisely. I had forgotten and was dumbfounded. I could not express myself fully, so I felt embarrassed in front of everyone and sat down. After that, I was unable to concentrate on the rest of the program. Immediately following the program, I quickly left without saying goodbye. I felt ashamed and thought I had failed “big time.” I was troubled for days thinking of what everybody would think of me after that. I got discouraged and decided I would not attempt to answer questions again.
However, a good friend helped me understand that it was not a big deal. I was encouraged to know that as imperfect beings, we are all bound to experience some shortcomings. And then through scripture I came to the realization that every failure can provide opportunities to seek God more passionately, learn more, persevere, anticipate success, grow, become more compassionate, experience God’s power, develop a testimony, etc.
David was no exception to this. He failed many times, yet he continued to seek God. Similarly, Abraham sought the face of God habitually amid his occasional failings. It was necessary for Peter to fail by denying Jesus three times so that he would be broken, freed from self-will, and able to become totally dependent on Christ for strength to defend the faith. This bitter experience produced the virtue of humility in Peter for the long-run.
Failure is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. Additionally, failure is not permanent for Christians. It is a stepping stone to greater heights. It can cause temporary discouragement, hopelessness, pain, or regret, but how we handle it will determine how well we can move forward.
After Peter failed by denying Christ and betrayed his trust, he wept bitterly. Peter may have thought that he was beyond forgiveness. But still Jesus forgave and restored him.
Following failure, we are able to hold on when we are willing to change, make things right, accept teaching, give God full control of our lives, remain accountable, have faith in God, and never give up. There are things we can do to avoid some failures. But when we do fail, we know well that it is possible to bounce back with the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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