So You’ve Failed, What Can You Do Now?
“Maybe it’s easier to lie to the world than, to be honest with yourself,” is a line used by a fictitious speechwriter in the show Designated Survivor. While this line comes from a fictional world, its truth bleeds over into ours. We tend to struggle to be honest, especially with ourselves. Take a look at our social media profiles. How accurately do our profiles portray our real lives? Most people use social media as a highlight reel for their success, ignoring failures altogether. We ignore these failures because it’s hard to accept them. Failure brings feelings of shame and disappointment to the surface, something no one actively wishes for. But there’s a problem that arises when we aren’t honest with ourselves. Neglecting the reflection of our inevitable failure leads us to accept a false sense of reality. Accepting failure is hard. However, the only real failure in life is the failure to accept our misdoings. Admitting a shortcoming is the first step. Once that is done, we pave the way for God to work through that very failure.
There are several differences between the Bible and social media, but one of these is the fact that the failures and shortcomings of the characters in the Bible are not hidden. Failures are highlighted just as much as successes are. Failures like David and Bathsheba and Peter’s denial of Jesus are written plainly for us all to see and evaluate. I’m sure if David and Peter had it their way, they would have omitted these accounts to preserve their reputation. However, God made sure that these accounts were included. Which leads us to the question of why? Why does God want us to reflect on our failures? I believe the answer is we grow more through failure than we do success.
I think one of the greatest examples of this comes in the life of Moses. We know Moses best for getting the Israelites out of Egypt, splitting the Red Sea, and leading his people in the wilderness. But Moses had a catastrophic failure before any of this success. Moses killed an Egyptian man trying to protect one of his fellow Hebrew. The Bible not only highlights this failure by Moses, but it shows us that Moses had to accept his failure. Being led by the fear for his life, Moses fled to the wilderness and spent the next 40 years of his life being a shepherd. He went from living in the palace to living with the sheep because of one mistake.
Moses had a good heart with good intentions, he wanted to save his people from oppression, but he went about it the wrong way. He took the situation into his own hands instead of trusting God to be an agent for His will. Moses let pride creep into his life, and that led to his failure. You see, Moses’s failure wasn’t a result of him not being called, but it resulted from him not being ready. We aren’t given many details about Moses’s time in the wilderness, but we know that it was a humbling experience for him. Numbers 12:3 says that “Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.” Quite the turn around from the prideful attitude of his earlier years. I believe Moses was always called to lead God’s people out of Egypt. He tried to act on this call early on, but he wasn’t ready. God still needed to shape and form him into the leader; he would need to be for the whole mission. Moses used his 40 years in the wilderness to be molded by God to become the man God intended him to be.
So next time you fail, let God use that situation for good. Know that you are called beyond your current ability. God may need you to spend some time with Him in the wilderness before you can carry out your call. Don’t run from this experience; embrace it.