How does pain benefit a person? A brief analysis of failure will be attempted here to help understand how God can work through failures to bring gain.
Firstly it would do well to realize the unavoidability of failures. Failure is unavoidable because man’s desire for perfection collides with an imperfect world that does not respond to man perfectly. And so, as much as we desire to make things perfect, we find our expectations failing to materialize, because the imperfect world cannot keep pace with out perfect longings.
Second, when failure occurs, it orients man to reality. The message of the gospel is in a way to dispel darkness and to bring light. The gospel cuts at the root of man’s problem of living under an illusion. Be it the various addictions that man embraces or the television or the internet that he drowns himself in or the various objectives that he sets his mind to, the common thread running through all of that is to remain in a state of illusion and conveniently ignore the harsh reality of life. When failures occur, there is no illusion to run to, rather only the reality of life staring at you. And it is only when the illusions are stripped away that man gets an opportunity to confront life and move to the realm of light. The search for meaning, an evaluation of what brings true abundance, analyzing freedom, among other things all follow when man goes through the pain of failure.
Third, failure generates hope. It takes your eyes off a world that is doomed to one that is eternal and worth living for. Hope is that element which fixes your attention on a reality that is to come. That reality which revolves around the centrality of Christ is the only reality that will truly satisfy man’s desire for perfection. Paul says,
‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’. (Romans 8:18)
It is in the crucible of suffering that the value of glory becomes truly evident. Hope rises and with it man’s ability to better grasp the infinite reality of God in whom alone hope resides.
Lastly, suffering has a way of creating humility. The Israelites had a tough journey after escaping from Egypt and were molded by God through failures that they encountered.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Everyone recognizes the value of humility but how does one become humble? Acting humble, remembering to be humble and learning about humility all have limited value. Quite often, all these do is produce a resemblance of humility. However, as opposed to a pretense, humility becomes an inviolable part of your lifestyle when you are manhandled by failures. Your ego is bruised, your reputation is damaged and you come away defeated. Yet as humility becomes ingrained in your system, you also end up more oriented to reality, more submissive to God and more gentle with others around you.
Sure you failed, but you also won-big!
- THE PAIN OF FAILURE
- A DIFFERENT JESUS