An experience of failure is a painful one. When we fail, we suffer from complex emotions. When we fail, we regret. We continue to revisit our failure and feel dissatisfied with our mistakes. When we fail, we suffer from a sense of guilt, shame, and inferiority. We have a lack of enthusiasm. We become frustrated. Failure makes us look at everything in a negative perspective. Failure makes us look at life pessimistically. When we fail, we cannot see life as is, rather we interpret every situation with the worst case scenario. When we fail, we feel like people are pointing fingers at us. Even though people don’t have any bad intentions, we think to ourselves that they despise us.
Failure produces fear. Because of fear, we no longer attempt new challenges. Failure is like a monster. If a problem from failure is not dealt with properly, that monster named failure continues to harass us. We cannot deal with a problem from failure lightly. We need to understand failure accurately. We need to be able to see not only the negative side of failure but also the positive side. That is wisdom. Wisdom is to interpret any incident positively, whatever problem we face. Wisdom is to discover merits in failure. We find the merits that are useful to us.
God’s wisdom includes wisdom that utilizes failure in good ways. God doesn’t use a person who never experiences failure. Instead, He uses a person who has failed. People from the Bible always have weaknesses. They experienced failure. Moses was a murderer who killed an Egyptian. David was a thief who stole someone’s wife. He committed adultery with Bathsheba. Because he wanted to cover his sin, he killed a faithful soldier. He was a murderer. Paul also was a person who caused Stephen to die. Peter denied Jesus three times. He was a traitor who betrayed Jesus. However, God achieved wondrous things through the failures. Why does God bless these people who made enormous mistakes and use them accordingly?
Those who have failed are humble. They realize their limits through failure. They get to know so well that they cannot bring success in their lives with only their own strength. Those who have failed learn wonderful lessons through failure. They gain wisdom. They learn about human nature and gain new realizations on life. The most dangerous person is the one who continues to succeed. They are the ones who don’t know what failure is. People like them fall into pride. They are arrogant. In the midst of all of this, they suddenly crumble down at once.
Those who have failed understands well the hearts of others who have failed. They understand the pain that comes from failure. Hence, they are able to comfort and encourage other in the midst of failure. They're able to encourage them to get up once again and move forward. We don’t become failures because we fail. Failure is merely an incident. In order for us to become a person who discovers, achieves, and dreams, we experience numerous failures. Edison achieved the great inventions through so many failures. Failure is not a stop sign. It is a turning sign. Failure is a guidance to discover a better way and to pursue deeper knowledge, information and wisdom. We become more mature through failure. Failure is like a road that we must pass by on the way to success.
I grew and matured through failure. God blessed me with amazing grace through failure. Failure was an incident which happened in the past. We cannot reverse it. Our responsibility is to bear the lessons we learned from failure in our hearts. Then we rise once again and move forward. Failure is not the end of our lives. It is not over until it is over. God is an author of a drama with an unexpected ending.
God can put even our failures to good use. He doesn’t waste any of our experiences. A skillful carpenter doesn’t waste a small piece of wood but puts it in good use. He knows that any piece of lumber can be utilized somewhere. God can make a head stone, which a builder casts away. He is greater than our failure. He has an abundance of wisdom, power, and resource. Out of His grace, God uses our failure to make our lives richer. Do not fix your eyes on failure but fix your eyes on God. Rely on Him. He wants us to stand on failure and to proceed. He pours out His grace onto our new beginning. There are still enough blessings that God stores for each of us. I pray that God’s wondrous blessings will be more abundant in the midst of your difficulties.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.