How Can God Help Me Handle Failure?

God delights in using failure to transform lives. Consider Harland Sanders. He quit school at sixteen, and by seventeen he already lost four jobs. He worked four years as a railroad conductor but was fired. At eighteen, he was married. He was rejected from law school, then sold insurance and failed again. At nineteen, he became a father, and a year later his wife left him, taking their baby daughter. He then became a cook and dishwasher in a small café, and at age 65, he retired.

His social security check was $105. Overwhelmed with his failures, he decided to commit suicide. Writing his will, he realized there was one thing he could indeed do better than anyone, and that was cooking chicken. So, he cashed that check to buy and fry chicken using his recipe and went door-to-door selling them to his neighbors in Kentucky. At the age of 88, he had become a multimillionaire and created the restaurant chain we know today as Kentucky Fried Chicken.

God continually uses people who have failed. Consider Moses. During his first forty years Moses enjoyed a life of privilege, wealth, good education, and also growing awareness of his identity as an Israelite. At the age of forty, he impulsively murdered an Egyptian taskmaster. The next day, when he sought to reconcile two Israelites, they accused him of trying to be a prince and judge over them and wondered if he would kill them as he did the Egyptian. Rejected by his own kinsmen, he fled, fearing retaliation from Egyptian authorities.

Moses was filled with youthful zeal but lacked life-learned wisdom and understanding. Reacting on impulse, he killed the Egyptian taskmaster, believing he was called to lead his people out from bondage. Acting impulsively, even based on what may be misunderstood as just principles, can lead to hurt and heartache.

Moses may have had a sense of destiny and believed that the God of his forefathers had a role for him to play but did not know God’s ways or timing. He did not understand the power of God’s Spirit and wisdom. The result was failure. But his failure led to valuable lessons in humility. He became faithful in small things, and in God’s timing, God entrusted him with great things. Failure was one of the ways God used to prepare Moses.

Moses spent the next forty years of his life in obscurity in the wilderness of Midian. During that time, he learned to be content as a shepherd, husband, and father. It was then that God was able to transform and use him.

In his last forty years, he discovered what amazing things could be done when he learned to depend on God. His great success began when he was eighty years of age. It did not begin well; each plague in Egypt brought greater trials, but he continued to trust and obey God. The result was that God did what Moses could not do—deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. Then for forty more years, God provided for Moses and Israel in the wilderness until they arrived safely in the Promised Land.

In much the same way, God uses our failures to humble us and bring us to the life purpose He has designed for us. Like Moses, we need to learn to focus our eyes, hearts, and confidence on the God of Israel. Moses, in Deuteronomy 4, prophesied that Israel would fall away from God. However, if they would seek Him, they would experience renewal, blessings, and restoration. He can and will do the same for you.

Are you discouraged because of failure? Take heart, you are in good company. God says to us, “I love those who love me; and those who seek me diligently find me” (Proverbs 8:17). God has sent His Messiah, Yeshua, to bring you God’s blessings. He will transform your failures just as He did for Moses. He will direct your steps so that you will fulfill the call He has on your life.

What God said to Jeremiah applies to you today, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you’” (Jeremiah 29:11–12).

If you are struggling with your own personal failures and need to talk with someone about how Yeshua can be your source of comfort, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.