A little while ago, I had the God-sized vision of growing the bible study class I teach from 10 to 62 people in a year.
But I bombed. A year went by and the class attendance only got about halfway there.
It hurt. I was confused.
I had faith that it was going to happen. And here I was a year later dejected.
Perhaps I set the goal poorly. Perhaps I didn’t have enough faith. Perhaps I had simply failed. Regardless, I knew God could use this to teach me something.
Learning from Failure
I realized that God allowed this failure in my life in order to grow me. When I looked back at that year, I realized I had a lot to learn as a leader.
I was running for this goal for my glory and not for the Lord’s. I was trying to do it in my power and not in His.
It hurt, but it took this failure to remind me of my own inadequacy. It took failure for me to remember my total dependence upon Him.
Not Just Class Growth
I think of all the goals I have. I think of all the areas in which I am working. I think of all the potential areas of my life where failure could be a very real and very unpleasant possibility.
Budgeting. Exercising. Teaching a class. Being a good husband and father.
I think, of course, of my time management. Am I redeeming the time the way God wants me to?
Will I stay focused? Will I work effectively? Will I waste time away with facebook?
Will I work when He wants me to work and rest when He wants me to rest?
Will I make time for relationships? For personal devotions?
Will I prioritize in the way that He wants me to?
When I consider how difficult it is to perfectly manage my time every second of the day, failure seems inevitable.
But then I am reminded that where I am weak, He is strong. God didn’t want failure to just teach me that I am inadequate. He wanted to teach me to depend on Him.
And not like an overbearing employer that likes to remind you how much you depend on the job they provide. Not like someone who makes you jump through hoops just so you remember who is the one with the power.
God approaches us with love.
First, through Christ we can be forgiven. We can know that God will not hold our failure against us.
Second, through Christ we can have true success. The Holy Spirit will work in us through His grace to empower us to act correctly for His aims.
Thank God for Failure
I’m disappointed when I fail. I hate to fail.
But yet, I can see the hand of a loving God who is using my failure as a tool – a tool to ultimately teach me more about Him and more about myself.
Through failure, God can lead me to greater levels of success. True, God-honoring success.
Thank God for failure.