Scripture: Proverbs 24:16 (NIV) “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” 

I often tell people I fail more than I succeed. For the most part, that is a true statement, but one that does not bother me. After all, according to his records, Edison failed around 2700 times before he got the light bulb right, so I am in good company. But as a Christian, I often compare myself against the world around me without considering the struggles, failure, and success of the ordinary turned extraordinary people recorded in the Bible. Consider these four individuals, each with their own failures brought about with any one or more issues with self-doubt, morals, intolerance, or broken promises. 

Moses, a prominent figure in the Old Testament, who initially struggled with self-doubt and fear. When God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he was reluctant and made excuses. Despite witnessing God’s miraculous signs, Moses faced numerous challenges, including the resistance of Pharaoh and grumbling from the Israelites. However, through persistence and unwavering faith in God, Moses eventually led the Israelites to freedom, demonstrating that even those with doubts and setbacks can accomplish great things with God’s guidance. 

King David, known for his victory over Goliath and his role in establishing the kingdom of Israel, also experienced significant failures in his life. His affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband Uriah were grievous sins. Yet, David repented sincerely, sought God’s forgiveness, and learned from his mistakes. Despite his failures, he remained “a man after God’s own heart” and continued to lead Israel with wisdom and devotion. 

Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, famously denied knowing Jesus three times during Jesus’ trial. This was a significant failure and a moment of weakness for Peter. However, after Jesus’ resurrection and with the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter transformed into a bold and influential leader in the early Christian church. He preached fearlessly and played a crucial role in spreading the message of Christianity. 

With faith, repentance, and persistence, they were able to overcome their failures and accomplish remarkable things in service to God

Paul (formerly Saul), before his conversion, vehemently persecuted early Christians. He saw them as a threat to Judaism and actively sought to eliminate them. However, on the road to Damascus, Paul had a powerful encounter with Jesus and underwent a dramatic transformation. Despite his earlier actions, he became one of the most influential figures in the early Christian church, authoring many of the New Testament epistles and spreading the Gospel to various parts of the Roman Empire. 

These individuals from both the Old and New Testaments remind us that failure and mistakes are not the end of the road. With faith, repentance, and persistence, they were able to overcome their failures and accomplish remarkable things in service to God.  

Perhaps, when we judge ourselves as having failed, we should look at the people in the Bible to gather our inspiration and judge our failures and success not so much by the yardstick of the world, but by our service to God and His Great plan. If we do this, regardless of our earthly failures, when we enter the presence of our God, we shall hear: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” 

Thought for the day: Our failures do not define us; rather, it is our response to them, our faith, and our persistence that shape our journey toward God’s greater purpose for our lives. 

~ Written by Gene Bennett