Failure—A Victory from Defeat
By Maria Fontaine
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The Lord never fails, even if we fail. No matter how many times you’ve failed Him, He won’t fail you. He’ll bring you through. The best thing you can do when facing failure is to keep your mind on the Lord. Trust Him. I know God’s going to help you because you’re praying and we’re praying, and He answers our prayers. Best of all, “the Spirit itself intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”1
So why worry? We all fail sometime or other. In fact, we all fail often. We all get mixed up and confused a little sometimes and the Enemy fights us, so we shouldn’t allow ourselves to fall under condemnation about it. In fact, in one sense, we should be happy when we fail. If we’re going to feel anything about it, then we should be happy, because maybe that’s what the Lord wanted us to do—fail. Can you look at it that way? The Lord probably allows us to fail so we won’t think too highly of ourselves. If you never failed, you could give yourself a nice little pat on the back, but failure makes you more humble and more dependent on the Lord.
“All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.”2 You shouldn’t feel condemned and worry about mistakes and failures; you should take the opposite attitude and be happy for the good that can come from your failure. You can be thankful that you didn’t fail too much and you didn’t cause a problem that can’t be remedied. Or you can be thankful that the Lord shook you up before you went too far, and you learned some lessons from it. Or that the Lord didn’t let it cause any big, drastic, catastrophic problems to happen as a result.
Actually, it probably did more good than harm. I think we should try to look at failure from a positive viewpoint and see the good that has come from it. In a way it’s our pride that makes us feel so bad when we fail. I don’t think it’s entirely pride, as we sincerely feel bad when we make wrong decisions and we feel bad about any trouble or hurt it causes. But as Paul says,
You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.—Hebrews 12:5–113
It’s like parents with their children: How hurt or disappointed do you feel when your children make a mistake? Of course you feel a little bad, but you expect them to fail and to behave badly sometimes or make wrong decisions; it’s all a part of growing up. You don’t give up on your children because they do something wrong. You know they’re not perfect. That’s all in the course of life. The initial disappointment is all but forgotten in the happiness you feel when you see your child learning his lesson and doing the right thing. And that’s much the way God looks upon us as His children; we’re learning and we’re bound to make mistakes.
Of course, we also don’t want to hurt others with our mistakes or fail the Lord. But in a case when the Lord wants to work on breaking down our pride, it’s good that we fail or do the wrong thing sometimes, or don’t always hit the mark, because then we realize that only the Lord can work through us, and when we do succeed, we’ll give Him the glory.
Sometimes He has to let us fail to show us that He’s the one that engineers our successes. So sometimes He has to let us fail to keep us humble.
Pride is a major problem with a lot of us, but the Lord knows your heart and He knows you don’t want it to be a problem, and He knows you’re praying to change, so He answers your prayers. Of course, He doesn’t always answer them the way we would like and not as easily as we would like, but He knows the best way and He’ll do it, if we ask Him, but He’ll do it in the way that He knows is best.
We need to look on failure as a positive thing, from the positive viewpoint that the Lord’s not trying to crush us to the ground and let the Enemy walk all over us, but that God is actually honoring us by giving us these lessons and by letting these things happen. We ought to be really thanking Him for it. We may feel bad, but we should thank the Lord, because it’s wonderful that we can learn these lessons. It’s even a blessing that we can fail sometimes, because often we get our greatest victories out of seeming defeats.
So keep looking up and keep being positive about it. The Lord may have let you be somewhat confused about things just so you would be humbled by it. The Lord lets those things happen because He wants to teach us bigger lessons and bring a bigger victory out of it.
So what I’m trying to say is be happy. Rejoice. You don’t have to worry or feel condemned about your failures, because as we look to the Lord and follow Him, they can all work together for good. I just wanted to encourage you to look on the bright sideand the positive when you’re confronted with your mistakes or failures, because as you trust the Lord you’ll see Him bring much more positive out of these than negative.
Originally published February 1985. Adapted and republished November 2013.
Read by Irene Quiti Vera.