You are going to fail. It’s inevitable. In some area of life – maybe in them all, at some point or other you will fail. Although it can be extremely painful you will learn much from failure. Some of the lessons I’ve learned from failure:
- My failures were usually the result of over-confidence. When I’ve failed it’s often because I was putting too much trust in myself and not enough in God. A happy side-effect is that it has usually produced more prayerful dependence upon God.
- Failure has made me more sympathetic to others. If I’d never failed in my parenting, preaching, teaching, financial decisions, etc., I would have no patience, sympathy, or help for others who had.
- My failures have helped to re-direct my life. I’ve realized that I’m just not gifted for certain things I would love to do and I should focus on the areas God has equipped me for. Though painful at the time, I can look back with gratitude for failures that have changed my course.
- Failure has given me a deep appreciation for people who succeed in areas I’ve failed in (usually jobs involving practical skills like plumbing, carpentry, mechanics, etc.).
- Failure has taught me to credit successes to God. When things go well, I recognize that it’s God alone who enabled, helped, and blessed, promoting more thankfulness and humility.
- The humility and dependence I’ve gained from failure has prevented far worse failure down the road. Smaller failures can block the way to bigger failures.
- Many of my failures have been the result of being too tired or too busy. If I pace my life better and get good rest I seem to make better short- and long-term decisions.
- My failures make me worship the Lord Jesus Christ more. When I consider how many mini-failures I have in a week and how many major failures in a decade, I’m awestruck to think that He spent 33 years on earth and never failed once! And, by faith, his perfection becomes my perfection.
- Failure brings heaven closer. Failure keeps us looking toward heaven, the place where failures will never be known again. Will we remember our failures there? Yes, but not with any pain, only as covered by Christ’s pardon, and only to turn up the volume of our praise:
We will also see our failures from a whole new perspective, not just our moral and spiritual failures but also our relational and vocational disappointments. We will see God’s wise providence in allowing that relationship breakup, that interview disaster, that lost job, that failed exam
Will we experience any failures there? No, never. We will not fail, and neither will anyone else. The tears of disappointment will be part of the deluge wiped out of our eyes (Rev. 21:4). Heaven will be one great and long success story: moral success, spiritual success, intellectual success, physical success, relational success, vocational success, ecclesiastical success.
So, yes, our present failures should drive us to Christ, but they should also make us long for heaven, to hasten the day when the pain of failure and the torture of disappointment will be gone forever.
Real men fail well…by learning from failure.
- What have been your biggest failures in life?
- What did you learn from them?
- How can you fail better?