Learning from Failure

We all fail, yet we fear failure so much it can stop us from stepping out on faith and trusting the Lord for the results. The statistical facts suggest that failure is a common, almost universal, experience:

  • 75 percent of venture-capital-backed start-ups fail
  • 40 percent of CEOs don’t last eighteen months.
  • 81 percent of new hires don’t work out.
  • 99 percent of new patents never earn a penny.
  • 95 percent of new products introduced each year fail.
  • 68 percent of information technology projects fail to meet their goals.
  • 88 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail.
  • 100 percent of all human bodies fail.
Failure may not be such a failure because of what we may learn. Failure can motivate us not to give up. The Scriptures teach us in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Here are three truths that I have learned about failing:

  1. We can learn from our failures.
  2. Failure is a normal part of life.
  3. We will survive our failures to see His mercies are new every morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

In 1923, Babe Ruth broke the record for most weekly home runs. That same year, he also broke the record for the highest batting average. There is another record he broke that year that most people don’t know about. In 1923, Babe Ruth struck out more than any other Major League Baseball player.

Babe Ruth was not afraid to strike out. And it was this fearlessness that contributed to his remarkable career. He was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season, a record he held for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961. He also had the lifetime total home run record of 714 for 39 years until Hank Aaron broke it in 1974. He had other records too. He had 1,330 career strikeouts – a record he held for 29 years until it was broken by none other than the great Mickey Mantle.

Most people want to hit home runs, and the problem is they are afraid to fail to get there. As Babe Ruth proved, you can’t have one without the other. It’s perfectly fine to be a good, solid player who doesn’t go down swinging that often, but it also means you won’t hit that many home runs. Those players are needed on a team – they are the consistent and reliable players. If you want to swing for the fences, you must be willing to strike out.

1. We can learn to move past our failures and mistakes and not give up.

Proverbs 24:16 says, “The righteous may fall seven times but still get up, but the wicked will stumble into trouble. Proverbs 14:32 The wicked are crushed by disaster, but the godly have a refuge when they die.”

2. We can learn from our mistakes and failures, so we won’t keep repeating them.

Psalm 119:71, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes.” Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust the Lord with all your heart and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.”

3. God will help us when we fail.

Psalm 37:23-24 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighted in his way. Thou h he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord uphold him with his hand.” Psalm 145:14, “He helps those who are in trouble; he lifts those who have fallen.”

We are learning together!
Pastor Steve

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