Overcoming Failure

Psalm 37: 23-24 “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalm 103: 13-14 “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For He understands how weak we are; He knows we are only dust.”

Failure is something we all must face. We are fragile by nature, tossed by the world’s waves of cruelty, temptation, pride and unforgiveness. Despite our best efforts, we always tend to let people down, hurting and pointing them away from the love and work of God in our lives. There always seems to be the temptation to do it our way and go against God, whether it is obvious or subtle. As soon as we give in, allowing sin to take root, we are burdened by the suffocating giant of guilt that smothers us from experiencing God’s love and doing His work. It can be so over-whelming! It’s at these times that we must remember the unconditional, tender love of God. We are NEVER too sinful for God to forgive us! However we must realise we are all going to fail and stumble throughout our lives. That’s not being pessimistic, but just realistic. We are fallen by nature, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to give into temptation. Rather it gives us the opportunity to allow God’s grace and power to shine in our lives as we draw on the Holy Spirit and rely on Him alone (2 Cor 12:7-10), repenting whenever we go astray.

There was a time when I had to face a significant failure in my life. By not focussing primarily on Him, I allowed my emotions, selfish desires, lack of self-control and patience to dictate my thoughts, neglecting any wisdom and discernment that God has granted me. My consequential, immature actions caused much pain and showed little evidence of the undeserving love, patience and grace that God has shown in my life. The guilt was immense, along with the remorse that not only had I failed God, but also those I cared greatly for. Sin always has consequences. However through this storm, God managed to shine His beauty into my soul and awaken in me the purpose of my being. He is Lord of my life, and in all things will work for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). He is understanding, compassionate and forgiving. His love surpasses all sin. He is the God of new beginnings! He didn’t condone at all what I did, but He understands my weaknesses and was prepared to reach out into the darkness of my despair and pull me back into His glorious presence. God again proved how tender and faithful He is. How merciful He is. It reminds me how much I don’t deserve His grace, but then again  that’s what grace is – undeserved favour. We can take no credit for the favour God grants us. Although I must live with the consequences of my sin, as all of us do, God had renewed and restored me. He had taken away the guilt of my sins (Psalms 32:5), and miraculously granted me peace in my heart. How blessed we all are! May we never take His love for granted, striving to love and forgive others as He first did for us.

Where have you stumbled in your life lately? Who have you let down or hurt? Though the guilt may seem suffocating and overbearing, God has promised to forgive and restore us if we confess all to Him (1 John 1:8-9). We must humble ourselves to those we have wronged and pray that God will help restore broken and damaged relationships. But as hard as it may be at times, we must give all to God, trusting that through His sovereignty and power He can work in all circumstances to achieve His good purposes in our lives and the lives of others no matter what happens. It is only through His love and grace by the powerful work of His Spirit that healing can take place. We mustn’t give into despair and try to force the healing process ourselves, but allow God to once again faithfully show how tender, compassionate and awesome He is. His love will shine through the darkness, being able to heal the most broken of hearts, so that His name alone is glorified to all!

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