The Gift of Failure

Written on 05/19/2022
Christian Dunn

Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

This has to be one of the most encouraging passages in the Bible. Wherever we are feeling weak or "not enough" in our lives, God sees that as an opportunity. Our weakness becomes an opportunity to showcase God's strength. Our struggles become an opportunity to bring glory to God for rescuing us. Our mistakes become an opportunity to celebrate God's redemption.

Once again, God flips the script. Whereas we inherently feel that success should be celebrated and failure should be punished, God sees success as suspect and failure as ripe with potential. Success is great, and I'm not saying God is against success. Obviously God is in our successes too. But the danger is that it can also lead to pride. It can lead to thinking we got here on our own, forgetting our God, and instead bringing glory to ourselves. And that is truly dangerous. 

The inherent possibility of failure, on the other hand, is that it leads us back to God. Failure, while painful, reminds us of our need for, and our dependence on, God. It reveals our fragility, and restores our desire to draw close to our redeeming God. The key, really to this passage, is that it's not about us! "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." Our lives are not our own, they belong to Christ. So even in our weaknesses, our mistakes, and our failures, God is well able to bring glory to himself. He delights in picking us up and redeeming us. 

Are there any areas in your life today where you are feeling like a failure? Maybe today is the time to bring that to God and invite his redeeming power to begin a work of restoration and healing in your life!

Thank you God that you don't give up on me. Please work your redeeming power in my life!