Success: Handling Failures (Part 3)

God is Sovereign –

I remember a friend sharing a story with me about a man who said that God had told him to run for student body president. He ran. He talked about God all along the way, and he lost. He asked God why. The answer was something like, “I told you to run. I never said that you’d win. Think of all the people you witnessed to along the way.”

Remember, God is sovereign. He picks the winners and the losers. You can only do your best. Sometimes you don’t get what you want – that job, opportunity, etc. – because God has a different plan for you. You don’t want to be standing at point A when He wants you to be standing at point B.

The value is not always where we think that it is. Sometimes it’s not the goal, but it’s the journey that makes the difference. It really is in our witness to folks along the way.

Many folks believe that God set this world in motion and walked away. Some believe that He is not interested in the little details of our lives. Scripture does not support either of those thoughts. God is actively participating in the lives of others throughout scripture. Consider Job, Moses, Paul, and others. He still actively participates in our lives.

When you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you will see more and more of His interaction because your eyes will be open to it. You will be looking for it. And as you listen for God to speak, you will often hear His direction for your life.

Just recently, I was in a speech contest. I had moved a few levels up. I had hoped to win the state and possibly move beyond, but speech contests are a bit subjective. I was particularly interested in the state level for 2 reasons. One, I thought it would draw attention to my business. Two, I wanted video of this particular speech because it points to God’s goodness, and I knew that the state level would be video taped. (I don’t typically like being video taped, but I digress…) Surprisingly, at the level just prior to the state level, I was handed a video release form. What went through my head at that time was that this was God’s provision for me. I may not make it to the next level. – And I didn’t.

You may be thinking that I beat myself by thinking that, but that was not the case at all. Several folks said that was the best they had ever seen me give that speech. Does the fact that I lost mean that I was not supposed to compete? No, not at all. I felt particularly led to compete. That’s a speech I want to share with the world, and God provided for that. I can hardly wait to see the video. I hope to put it on my website and various other social networks. As good as the speech was, it just wasn’t in God’s plan for me to win that day.

Was I disappointed? Absolutely, but only for a short time. I’m human. I wanted to win! But much like my opening story, God never said I’d win. I’ll choose God’s plan for me over winning any day. What about you? Which would you rather have? Your way? Or, God’s way?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9


The challenge is to be content where you are, even when you don’t get what you thought you wanted. God is sovereign. Believe that He has the best plan for your life. Believe that He has your best interest at heart. Success is more than achieving that one thing that you thought you wanted. It’s about the journey. It’s about the people we reach for the Lord along the way. It’s about our relationship with Jesus.

Your Big Challenge

Your big challenge is understand that being able to handle or accept failure is important if you want to be successful. If you don’t handle failure well you may become too discouraged to continue. If you did your best, awesome! If not, do better next time. Always look for ways to improve. Understand that you may not find any. Get input from your friends. Remember that sometimes those failures are not your fault entirely. They may simply be times when God has said, “No.” Don’t be tempted to take a crowbar to that door. Leave it closed, and move on. Be encouraged that God is always working!