Seeing God’s Love When I Fail

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

Seeing God’s Love When I Fail

by Iain Dick

Failure. There’s a word that stings if ever I heard one. There are lots of words that can trigger a less-than-desirable reaction in men, but failure is a strong one.

Is it because it’s untrue? Is it because failure shouldn’t be an option? Or is it because it’s a direct reflection on us? Personally, I think it’s the latter. I think we men don’t like that failure shows us more about ourselves, our abilities (or lack thereof), our responsibilities and our weaknesses than we care to admit. If you want to make a man extremely uncomfortable, point a mirror at him when he’s failed at something. I imagine that’s probably a pretty harsh thing to do to someone, would you agree? What about documenting someone’s failure in writing for the world to see, and to be passed down throughout the generations as the inerrant word of God? I thought so.

There are so many examples of men in the Bible who had their failure written down for us all to know. Here are some of the obvious ones: Abraham. Jacob. Moses. David. Solomon. Samson…and that’s just in the Old Testament.

Take a look at their stories. Read about their choices and keep an eye out for where they mess up, it won’t take long! But when they fail (yes, when they fail, not if) ask yourself “How did God show love and mercy to them personally?”

Did He turn His back on them? No.

Was there a consequence for their choices? Sure.

Did He continue to love them and show mercy to them, even to the point of using their full story in His Word to show His heart to us all? Absolutely!

I love how the apostle Paul wrote about this in the book of Romans:

“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.”

-Romans 8:28 (NIV)

We don’t need to worry about all things being good. As long as we humans are involved, we can pretty much guarantee that things won’t always be that good. But we know that God uses all things for good. Whether it’s your deepest regret, biggest failure, worst mistake, even the most heinous crime against God and your fellow man – He will use it for good, one way or another.

Find friends who will first hear you out, but will remind you that God’s grace and mercy extends to everyone, and we ought to show it to ourselves also.

Also, not all failure is sin. Simply messing up at something can make us feel like we are the worst sinner, but God has never asked us to punish ourselves for getting it wrong. Feeling bad after messing up is natural, and is ok up to a point. But never allow it to detract from who God has said you are. When we are in a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are His children. Beating ourselves up for getting it wrong can be used as a way to distract us from all the good that God has done in us and through us. Don’t allow your feelings to steal glory from God.

Measure not God’s love and favor by your own feeling. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof.”

-Richard Sibbes

Let me put it this way:

Failure IS an option – Giving Up should NEVER be!

Jesus doesn’t expect you to get it right all the time. But He does ask that you seek Him, and trust Him.

“…for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:29-30 (ESV)

If you’re facing failure, regardless of how big or small it is, God loves you. He will always be waiting for you with open arms. Take your failure and place it at His feet. Give it over to Him and spend no more time worrying about it.

You will fail. We all fail. I know, it still hurts to read. But don’t let failure be the last word.