The Gospel Truth About Failure
by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I am in a season right now where I feel I have made some foolish investments with people and finances. Right now, it’s tempting to begin thinking “mistake,” “failure,” or “I won’t ever trust anyone again.” I am so grateful for the Word of God because when I examine my “mistakes” through the lens of the Bible, things look different.
Psalm 37:23-24 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
If that didn’t make your head snap, reread it. It’s a promise made to the “godly,” so Christian, this one is for you. It declares no matter how badly you have jacked things up, you are smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for your life. You may be stumbling about, but you will not fall. God is holding your hand. And somehow, astonishingly, He is delighting in you.
He’s not shaking His holy head in disgust, face-palming, or even nervous about or for you. No matter what your current state of chaos, He’s smiling because of the joy He feels over you. That is so incredibly, unbelievably good it has to be the Gospel truth since the definition of the word Gospel is good news.
I am convinced God has a different idea of success and failure than we do. Think about Jesus, the exact representation of God in the flesh, and how He invested in people. He was reckless with His finances and His love. He chose Judas as one of His closest friends, knowing Judas would betray Him. He also made Judas the treasurer, knowing Judas was a thief. When Judas betrayed Him in the Garden, Jesus still called him “friend.”
Judas grieved His heart, but He never stopped loving him. He also didn’t let Judas’ shortcomings change Him by becoming embittered and declare He would never trust anyone again. Instead, He invests His life into each person who is willing to accept and believe in Him. Knowing, completely, what messes we are and all the mistakes we will make. He never considers us a mistake or a bad investment. Instead, He delights in all our ways.
No, God doesn’t see success or failure the same way we do. He wants us to be reckless with our love, and feel people are more important than comfort, career, or finances. That makes me squirmy. I would rather have a fat IRA than a trail of people who have ripped me off. But not my Savior. He would call the trail of people I have “foolishly” invested in a success because people are the mission field, not my IRA.
When I value people over my discomfort, even when they’ve done me dirty, I feel God’s pleasure, and Psalm 37:23-24 suddenly begins to make sense. God’s delighting in this mess I’ve made because He’s using it to make me look more like Jesus. When I look like Jesus, I’m succeeding in life, no matter what my circumstances or bank account look like.
What about you? Do you feel like you are failing at life? If so, I have an interesting factoid from the Bible for you. There is nowhere in the Word of God where He ever calls us failures. Instead, what He promises, is that He will never fail you. And that’s the gospel truth!