Very few things go completely as planned. No matter how bright, or determined, or prepared we may be, there are simply too many variables in life, each containing some potential for error. It helps to remember that God keeps track of the hairs on our head and Satan had to ask permission to afflict Job. While setbacks seem to occur at random intervals, keeping in mind that God is using them to mold us into the very image of Jesus Christ will help us steady the ship in the storm of life, instead of jumping overboard into much more tumultuous waters. What often appears to be failure is the refiner’s fire, the blacksmith’s hammer or the sculptor’s chisel, crafting us into one of God’s masterpieces.

For those enslaved to ego and pride, the very idea of failure is far more fearful than the results. What haunts them most is the imagined ridicule, public embarrassment and crippling spirals of shame. While we never wish to fail, even more, we don’t want to be caught failing. This fear puts lead in our step and makes it much harder to slog through difficult situations. It is easier to pick ourselves up and continue to march forward (or move off in a new and more profitable direction) when we keep our eyes on the goal. Looking back, we may not even acknowledge failures, choosing instead to consider them simply another set of challenges confronted, learned from, overcome and enjoyed. The only true failure is one that kills desire and undermines our faith.

Whether in life, business, personal relationships, or faith…confronting obstacles is never easy. Surrendering to them usually is. Yet when we have every reason to give up… when others flee and resources dwindle…when enemies gather and logic tells us our chance for success is small, it is at that moment we must turn our eyes toward heaven, seek God’s direction and with His affirmation continue on.

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