From the beginning of time, God knew that you would be here right now reading this message. Isn't that amazing? Every since you entered this world, God has been molding and crafting you for His purposes. Every experience you've had...both positive and negative has made you who you are today. So with those thoughts in mind, what does it mean to fail? If God, who is ever present with us, is the one allowing situations and circumstances to happen in our lives, what is your definition of the word "failure"? Do you see yourself as a failure simply because your life hasn't evolved into what you thought it should be?
Think for a moment about the things in your past that you thought you really wanted. It could be a particular car, a certain house, a special job, or even a wife or husband. Before God allowed that particular person, place or thing into your life you probably thought to yourself, "If I could only get a car like that, if I could purchase that home, if I had that job, or if she/he would marry me, I would be the happiest person on earth". And then, God grants you your desire of "the thing" that you thought would make you happy, only to find out that "the thing" made you miserable and in the end, you got rid of "the thing" (or are desperately attempting to get rid of "the thing").
So what happened? You pursued the thing you thought would bring happiness, only to find that "the thing" brought nothing but misery. You didn't (nor did you have the ability to) see the big picture; therefore you could not place a value on how much happiness (if any) the thing you were in pursuit of could bring. There were too many variables that you had no way of knowing about.
Failure can be looked at in the same light. We have no way of seeing the big picture in what we have termed failure. Most times when we use the word failure, what we really mean is that things didn't turn out the way we thought they would. But is that a bad thing? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Our lives are a progressive revelation. Even though we think we're in control, we have no idea what our lives will be like from moment to moment. We all know of people who are in one place one moment, and then life picked them up and placed them in a whole new realm of existence in the blink of an eye. Failure is not failure because the plans that you orchestrated (or thought you were orchestrating) didn't happen the way you planned them to. True failure is not being flexible enough to bounce back when the stream of life takes you in an unexpected direction.
Always remember that God is in control and even thought you have no idea why you ended up where you are now, surrounded by the people whom God chose to surround you with, there is a purpose in it either for you or for those whose lives you have the privilege of impacting. Be encouraged and look forward to the day when you can sit down with your Heavenly Father and He can show you what He had in mind when He took you down the path that you're on now.
When you look around you not having a clue as to why you're in the place you're at right now, take the illusion of failure and bless those around you knowing that you're here for a reason. Good things can sometimes come in deceptive packages. Be careful not to toss out a blessing that may be right under your nose.
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Thanks for that thought Gregory. The other side of the coin,success, is also an illusion. I like how John Michael Talbot describes his 'riches to rags' story as a success story. We should seek first the kingdom of God. But what does that mean to a success-hungry world?