Lessons in failure

Psalm 119:71 – “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

Losing is tough at my house. My son had a soccer tournament this weekend. On Saturday, his team had to win their second game in order to advance to the final game. They lost. And it was a tough loss too. They were a better team. However, his team did not get to play all of its players for one reason or another. My son didn’t play. He had a case of shin splints. It was tough. It was tough for him. It was tough for us as his parents. And it was tough for the coach.

But the coach had a reason for not playing his better players and winning the game. The boys needed a lesson, a really hard lesson. They needed to learn to trust one another and respect one another, no matter what. They needed to play their position and do what they knew was right, even when things were rough.

As a parent, it is difficult for me to watch my child fail. I dislike seeing him lose. But as a parent, I have to let him fail in order to watch him succeed. You see, they played much better at the next game. They were more of a team – not perfect, granted, but better. They helped each other out instead of tearing each other down. It may not have been perfect and pretty, truly, not much that a teenage boy does is perfect and pretty, but it was a win, nonetheless.

Our Heavenly Father has to watch us fail sometimes in order to teach us a lesson. I’m sure that it is harder on Him to watch me fail than it is on me to watch my child fail. As hard as it is for me to comprehend, He loves me more than I love my child, my spouse or any other person on this earth. But He knows that in order for me to grow and become more and more like Him, sometimes I have to fail.

Failure can teach us some great lessons if we look for them. Sometimes when we fail, all we can see is the failure. That’s when God steps in and shines the light on the lesson. We need that lesson. We need to remember that He is not letting us fail because He doesn’t care. On the contrary, He allows us to fail because He loves us so much. He wants to see us learn. He wants to see us grow. He wants to see us be successful in His plan.

So this week, when failure looks you straight in the eye, say, “Oh dear friend, failure, what have you to teach me today?”


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