Friday, October 11, 2013

Failure is not the End

Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing...
     Years ago, a family friend and computer guru, helped us set up our first desk top computer with Windows.  We knew virtually nothing about making this new piece of equipment work so he gave us some quick rundowns.  He told us, "Above all, do not be afraid of this machine and don't worry about trying things."  With that bit of encouragement, I plunged in as I planned to use this wonderful device in our homeschooling endeavors.
     According to my husband, I was an absentee wife on many occasions spending a lot of time learning by trial and error how to work the computer.  I admit that it fascinated me, and after a while, I was able to do the basics with no problem.  Of course, I probably could have made faster progress if I had read the directions, but many times, booklets on how to operate a computer can be more confusing than just trying something.
     While I tried my best to learn all the safety rules to keep things running smoothly, one evening I failed to do something basic.  I did not back up a lengthy paper I was in the process of writing.  I had been warned by friends to always back up my work and save as I went.  This night, though, I did not heed their warnings.  After typing a number of pages in Word, we had some sort of glitch in the program and I lost the entire paper.  I felt sick.  I tried everything I could think of to recover the lost document but to no avail.  I called our computer guru and talked with him.  After trying a number of things with no results, he concluded as I did that I would have to start over again.  I felt like a failure.  I told my husband that I might as well drop the project and forget about it, but he encouraged me to take my time and try to reconstruct my ideas.
     On the following day, with a nudge from the Lord and remembering the words of my husband, I began to reconstruct the paper.  I was amazed as the entire thing came together.  In fact, I felt like it was an improvement.  Only this time, I was careful to back up my work all along the way.  God had taught me a valuable lesson in this whole process.  This was confirmed in Scripture.
     James 1:2-3 reads:  "My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials, come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure" (English Version).  If we never had failures, troubles or difficulties, we would miss some of the most precious lessons which build our character and enable us to face the storms of life.  For we know that smooth sailing on a daily basis often leads to neglect of our relationship with God.  We have it all together so we feel we can handle it.  However, when failure comes our way, we realize our need of God and His grace to see us through.  Remember what Jesus admonished us?  "Apart from Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5b).
     Our society fears failure, but the man/woman of God welcomes the lessons that come from our momentary trials which build our endurance.  We learn from our mistakes when we bring the Lord into focus and ask for His wisdom.  What we must always keep in mind is that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37).  Therefore, we do not quit in the face of trials or failures.  Instead, we trust and listen to God so that we may grow through this difficulty.
     As for me and the computer, we have a great working relationship now.  I still have my moments and make my mistakes, but I have learned to persist.  I know that even if I stumble, the Lord is there to help me work through my problems.  May we look at failure as merely a stepping stone to the awesome possibilities that God has waiting for us on the other side of a trial.  Selah!

Photo courtesy of Jill Clardy on Flickr using

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