Failure is not a popular word. In our success-soaked society, failure is feared and shunned. There are so many things we are afraid of failing: exams, driving tests, failing in our careers, failing financially, failing in our marriages and as parents, failing to gain other people’s respect and perhaps, most worryingly of all, we fear failing God.

Failure is, however, something that will happen to us all at some point in our lives and we need to know how to get over our failures.

Mark looked at some of the causes of failure:
1) lack of effort
2) over-reaching, trying to do something which is actually always going to be beyond us
3) trying to do something which we should never have attempted in the first place, often resulting from disobedience
4) becoming distracted from what God has called us to do.

He reminded us that we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23), so we need to come to terms with failure. It’s not something we can avoid or hide from. Moreoever, we need to understand God’s faithfulness: He will never fail us or forsake us (1 Chron 28:20) but even if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself (2 Tim 2:13). God’s love for us is never going to change, no matter what our failures.

When we fail, our tendency is to hide away. We hide from God, as Adam did in the Garden of Eden, that first failure in obedient living. We hide from each other. We stop reading the Bible and we will pray about anything except the thing we ought to bring to God in prayer! What we should do is draw near to God (James 4:8), secure in the fact that He will draw near to us.

We need also to read His Word, for there we learn the comforting truth that we are not the first to fail. The Bible is full of stories of people who have failed God… but that’s not the end of the story. There, in God’s Word (written “so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom 15:4)), we find examples of awesome men of God who failed Him (Abraham, David, Peter) and who yet learned to succeed. We need to bring things out in the open in prayer, lifting our eyes up to God (Ps 121:1-2), for He is our help.

God knows both how and when we will fail Him, but He loves us nonetheless. We can’t hide from His love anymore. He doesn’t want us to dwell in failure, but to draw near to Him so that we can move on. In some ways, God is so much more willing to forgive our failures than we are! May we learn to draw close to Him and bring all our fears and failures to Him.