Failure. There’s not usually any positive connotations from the word, much less the experience. Yet, throughout Scripture and in the personal experience of His people, we see that the Lord often uses what we consider significant losses to lead us into His good and pleasing will.
The following are some of Scripture’s passages on God’s sovereign hand for blessing in times of personal loss. Consider and discuss the principles and the article for this week.
- When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (Genesis 50:15-21)
- Jesus speaking of the coming death in our place on the cross, said “For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” (Luke 22:22)
- “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)
- “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)
Google Glass gets a second chance in factories, where it’s likely to remain
“Closed Doors and Windows of Opportunity”, by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (18 July 2017)
Ever wonder what happened with those internet spectacles from Google? Vlad Savov reports that “Google Glass, the smart head-up display and camera that was supposed to become everyone’s next portable computer, isn’t dead. It’s gotten a job — multiple jobs, in fact. The second iteration of Google Glass has been tested and deployed across many factories in the United States by companies such as Boeing, GE, and DHL . . . Project lead Jay Kothan is quoted as saying, ‘This isn’t an experiment. It was an experiment three years ago. Now we are in full-on production with our customers and with our partners.’ Indeed, according to the latest report, the feedback from workers and companies has been overwhelmingly positive, with Glass providing assistive information on the work floor and improving productivity.…The failure of Google’s information-augmenting glasses as a mass market product, it seems, might spawn the success of Alphabet’s workplace-focused assistive device.” (https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/18/15988258/google-glass-2-enterprise-edition-factories)
If you’ve ever pursued a personal dream, it’s hard to see it die. I know. For years in my teens and twenties, I worked toward being a professional trumpet player. But when time began to reveal my limited abilities, I had to make some major changes or become the proverbial starving musician.
So much seems to be lost in such times, and we tend to look back at what once seemed possible or to stare ahead into the fog of our future. Either way, we usually struggle to move forward with any newfound confidence and zeal. But that’s okay. It’s natural and necessary to slow down and reflect on what went wrong, what parts of the vision are still worth keeping, how we might salvage those and recycle them for a related but different dream, and where some of those opportunities might be.
I know, we don’t think that way in the moment. We want another try. But, as the door closes on our dream as a whole, if we can see its separate parts, we might enjoy other windows of opportunity.
Consider some things that came from my “failure”. My vision had led me to a college of music where I later met my amazing wife of 21 years now. I translated some of my skills to learn rhythm guitar just for fun, which takes much less practice time than a brass instrument. Lastly, playing the trumpet also taught me that determination and passion are not enough. Yes, growth in anything requires working in the basics and staying committed. But my “failure” taught me to be realistic with my resources and circumstances, and to learn contentment. So I learned to pick my battles, to fight hard, and truly to enjoy less-than-perfect results. I can’t tell you how many “B+/A-“ results and peace that’s brought.
I’m guessing that you, too, can name pieces of success and joy from some of your “failed” dreams.
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