"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." — Romans 8:28 (NLT)
I used to think that I was a failure when I failed at things, but now I know that failure can be a good thing.
I was doing missions trips in Jamaica every summer until the pandemic. In 2016, I felt the need to help out even more.
So I decided to raise funds to provide backpacks and school supply kits for the kids in the community I served. I raised half of my goal through the generous support of friends and family.
But I failed.
The campaign itself didn't fail—we distributed 144 backpacks and school supply kits to the kids. I failed.
Summer 2016: Some of my little buddies with their school supply kits and backpacks
Let me explain...
When I felt the need to help out more in Jamaica, I prayed for God to show me what needs He wanted me to address. But instead of waiting on God to give me direction, I jumped ahead of Him.
I soon learned that there were greater needs in the community at the time. If you look closely at the picture above, some of the boys didn't even have shoes on their feet.
No shoes = no school. My idea was a good one, but it wasn’t led by God.
Every good thing isn’t always a God thing.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is In Judges 20 where the Israelites united to attack the men of Benjamin. The Israelites asked God which tribe should go first, and He told them to send the tribe of Judah.
The next day when they attacked, the Benjaminites killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield. The Israelites cried in the presence of the Lord until evening and asked Him if they should fight the Benjaminites again.
The Lord told them to go out and fight them. So they encouraged each other and prepared themselves to fight again.
The next day, they fought the Benjaminites, and 18,000 of the Israelites died. Once again, the Israelites cried in the presence of the Lord until evening, but this time they also fasted and brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to Him.
Then, they asked the Lord if they should fight the Benjaminites again or stop. In verse 28, the Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you."
The next day, the Benjaminites attacked and started killing some of the Israelites. And just when they thought they were winning, God helped the Israelites defeat the men of Benjamin.
Ok, so here's a quick recap:
The Israelites wanted to get revenge on the men of Benjamin. They consulted God after they already formulated their plans. Instead of asking God if they should attack the Benjaminites, they asked Him which tribe to send first.
God then tells them which tribe to send, and they fail.
Then, they get smarter and ask God if they should even fight the men of Benjamin. God tells them to go out again, and they fail.
They consult God a third time, and He tells them the next time they go out they'll be victorious. The Israelites learn from their past mistakes, fast, change their strategy, and with God's help, they succeed.
When you don't consult God first with your plans (and even sometimes when you do), He will often allow you to fail to help you grow and strengthen your faith. But every time you fail, you'll get smarter, stronger, and better prepared for the next battle.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." — Romans 8:28
We all fail at times, but our failures do not define us. With God, we can have success despite them.
God is always working everything out for the good so keep learning and growing. Failure is just a pit stop along the way.
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Do great things with God.