1 John 5:14-15
“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak; for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7
We have been told more often than not that, "failure is not an option;" so, it has become increasingly difficult to deal with the things in our lives we consider failures. We have taken failure out of the equation of living, because we are under the premise that failure means weakness; not understanding that, failure simply eliminates one or more methods of doing something, and can be a stepping stone to the reality of what is necessary to achieve success.
Years ago, while reading about Thomas Edison, I was surprised at how many times he failed before getting the design and function of his version of the light bulb to work. Although he remained determined to use electricity to power light in a tube, he failed miserably at it for years. Many other inventors had attempted to create a long lasting “light bulb;” however, the best bulb they were able to create was a light bulb that lasted only 3-4 hours at best. Edison wanted a light bulb that would last months. When his team finally got the basic concept of the bulb to work, he was asked how he finally came up with the solution. Edison replied, "I have not failed a thousand times. I have successfully discovered a thousand ways not to make a light bulb."
Many of us look at our failures as huge stumbling blocks in our lives; specific points where we have fallen short of our own expectations or the expectations of others, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Many times our failures are not the issue. The issue is, like Edison and his team, whether we are able to get up, dust ourselves off, and walk back to the drawing board to find a new method that works.
To be honest, we have been “failing” at various things our entire lives. We simply have not looked at these endeavors as failures. For example, when we learned to ride a bike for the first time, and all the times afterwards until we were able to ride without falling. What about when we learned to drive a car, or used a computer, or attempted to cook, etc. We regard these simply as learning, albeit by trial and error. Yet, whether it is trial and error, trial by fire, or trial of faith, our quest is to try to get it right—as right as we possibly can.
We will never be excellent at everything; some things are meant for us to appreciate, not undertake. However, when we fail, and we will fail at various undertakings in our lives, the point is for us to get up and try again, or move on to something else. Our failures should not condemn us, destroy us, or bind us from succeeding in the future. They are simply examples of how not to do something in the future. In addition to this, there will be times when our failure has nothing to do with anything we did. In those cases, the method used was absolutely correct, but the timing was off.
Even Faith can fall under the failure category. It’s when we find ourselves in a situation where having Faith is the only viable option in determining our success—and then, it fails also. When this occurs, understand that failure of Faith simply reinforces that we must increase our resolve, and strengthen our belief. It’s when we discover that Faith, like everything else in our lives, is not easy. It takes trial and error to perfect it; and, it takes practice—purposeful practice.
Yes, failure is optional, but Faith is not. You will need to truly believe in success before it becomes evident; understanding that, after many trials and a few good errors, failure is a gift. —A gift given to you so you can pursue and achieve Faith. L.
Study Reference: 1 John 5:14-15, 2 Chronicles 15:7
Excerpt from: "The Gift of Failure." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell