Best of Daily Reflections: Seven Happy Lessons from Failure
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Thrice blessed are those griefs and disappointments that lead you out of lying refuges into the sure covert from the storm, that call you from the joy of the world into the joy of God. (Rev. Horatius Bonar)
Although we usually associate happiness with success and sadness with failure, God teaches us valuable lessons through failure that can increase our happiness in the long term. Here are some of the happy side-effects that have resulted from my failures:
- Failure has humbled me. When I’ve failed, it’s often because I was putting too much trust in myself and not enough in God. A happy by-product is that my failure 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.
- Failures have helped to redirect my life. Though pained at the time, I can look back with gratitude for failures that have changed my course away from areas I am not gifted in.
- Failures have made me admire others' successes. 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, worship, and humility.
- Failure has slowed me down. If I pace my life better and get good rest, I seem to make better short- and long-term decisions and make fewer mistakes.
- Failures have made 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 Jesus spent thirty-three years on earth and never failed once!
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What have your failures taught you? How do you respond to others’ failures? What do you do when you fail?
PRAYER: Lord God, I confess my many failures to you. Please help me to learn all the lessons I can from my disappointments. Above all, may they bring me to love and worship Jesus who never failed and never will. In his name I pray. Amen.