Learning From Failure

Boy, has it been a tough week to be a sports fan in Georgia! Last Wednesday, the Braves were routed, and a season of promise came to an end. On Saturday, the Bulldogs and the Yellow Jackets both lost. Finally, on Sunday the Falcons went down in defeat because of a failed extra point. It has been a trying week for area sports fans, to say the least. 


While losing is not fun, it is a part of life. Failure hurts! Nobody likes experiencing it. But as one coach said a long time ago, “Failure is a great teacher.” We don’t talk much about failure in today’s society (except to complain about our teams losing), but perhaps we should. Truth be told, failure has its benefits. We can learn from our mistakes. We can use the failures of the past to motivate us to do better in the future. We can realize the benefit of getting another chance. 


I have experienced failure many times in my life, and not just in sports. When I was in the 9th grade, I failed Algebra. The irony of this is that I failed because I was afraid to ask questions about things I didn’t understand. I didn’t ask those questions because I was afraid my teacher and my classmates would think I was a failure (you can laugh now). The upshot of this was that I had to go to summer school to make up Algebra. That was not the way I wanted to spend my summer. I remember my dad telling me that I needed to pull that grade up in summer school (this was not a request on his part). I went to class that summer and pulled my failing grade up to a “B.” I would not trade that experience for anything! That summer taught me about learning from failure, about second chances, and about not being defined by my shortcomings. 


The Bible makes this message clear: “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me” (Psalm 40:12-13).


Failure is tough, but it has its benefits. I believe the best thing about failure is that it makes us realize how much we need the Lord. I believe one of the best things parents can teach their children is how to deal with failure, because we all experience it. Go to the Lord when you fail. Ask for His wisdom and help. He is ready and available for you. Let me share another verse from the Psalms that drives this point home:


“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).


That is good news! Let God be your strength when you fail. He will help you in your time of need. We can’t do anything about the shortcomings of our favorite sports teams in Georgia, but we can do something about our own failures. Go to God and let Him be your strength and portion today! 


Because our failures are not final,

Mike