During the past two years I have listened to one of my hunting partners lament over some very disappointing adventures. Jeff is an excellent outdoorsman. Raised in the backwoods of Minnesota, he has taught me a lot about God’s great outdoors. As a skilled hunter he has taken several animals with a bow and arrow in addition to scores of critters with a firearm. Whether I’m hunting for bear, deer, antelope, birds, or pigs I want Jeff in my camp. He is knowledgeable and carefully measures each opportunity with skill and precision. He rarely makes “rookie mistakes” that cause many hunters frustration and grief.
Yet for some reason, during the past few months good ole Jeff has arrowed two animals that would not go down and could not be found. He used a rifle and a bow on two separate trophy elk only to see his shots go astray because small limbs getting in the way. If that wasn’t enough, he spotted a trophy mule deer in Mexico that ducked behind a bush. The guide directed him to shoot at the animal even though they could only see his hindquarters. He took the deer with one shot, but unfortunately, it was a different deer with only a small rack unworthy of mounting. While most hunters would have traded their rifle for a golf club by now, Jeff continues to persevere. Failure was not something that was going to bother him. Like Jeff, my feeling is we can’t be afraid of failure. The only way we can grow and mature is to take risks that sometimes end in failure. Years ago, I came across these words from an unknown source:
You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times but he also hit 714 home runs. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. It is because of mankind’s failure that we need a Savior. It is because of the grace of God we can fail and know that we are forgiven. 1 Chronicles 28:20 and Lamentations 3:22 remind us that God will never fail or forsake us. Because of our trust and love for Him we have that eternal grace that forgives and forgets all our failures. Even the hunting mistakes and poor judgments we make are forgiven. Isn’t it comforting to know that because He lives, we can deal with failure and disappointment without guilt and condemnation? Praise God!
Scripture Reading: Psalms 89:26-28
Personal Application: How do you react to failure? What do some of the Bible characters teach us about not letting failure destroy our dreams and goals?
Wendell Morton and Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5