“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
Failure is not intended by God to be fatal or terminal for a child of God. The scripture quoted above attests to the fact that we have setbacks or failures, but we recover from them by the grace of the Almighty. The downfall of a child of God is not his or her end. Failure really is a part of the process of success just as death is part of the process of resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:36). Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.” Literally, all the patriarchs listed in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11 failed at some point in time but they bounced back to the point that they became models of faith. Even nature tells us that God’s intention is that we always recover. Trees that have become bare due to harsh conditions in winter always bounce back in spring and summer as they grow back leaves and luscious fruits. But there are occasions when failure can be fatal and terminal. Below are occasions when failure is fatal:
When we refuse to change: The Bible calls someone who refuses to change a fool. In Proverbs 27:22, the Bible says, “though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.” This scripture says if you afflict a fool with severe punishment akin to grinding him with a pestle in a mortar, he will still not change his ways. People who refuse to adjust and mend their ways make failure final. All men fall; it’s only those who refuse to get up that end up having terminal failures (Proverbs 24:16).
When we internalize failure: Failure is largely an external event. The fact that someone failed an exam or an event planned didn’t work out well doesn’t make one a failure. Just like success needs to be managed, so does failure need to be managed. We manage failure by separating ourselves from unfavorable outcomes particularly when we have a string of them. One isn’t a failure until one adopts a mindset of failure. People do extreme things like committing suicide because they internalize failure and make if fatal and final. We should teach our younger generation how to handle failure particularly those who are very competitive that failure is not an enemy and it’s ok to experience failure occasionally. That failure makes you a better person, more knowledgeable and adept. People we call successful today have failed in many ventures in the past.
When we isolate ourselves: The Bible says woe is the man that is alone when he falls because he has no one to help him up (Ecclesiastes 4:10). The prophet Elijah became depressed and suicidal principally because he was alone. He was alone on Mount Carmel when he confronted 450 prophets of Baal (an idol), and he attested wrongly that he is the only prophet left in Israel. The powerful prophet Elijah was a lone ranger with no affiliations whatsoever. There was no one to inspire or encourage him. Little wonder he suffered a burn out, became depressed and asked God to kill him when Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, threatened him. It was the mercy of God that intervened for the prophet whose ministry ended shortly after the encounter on Mount Carmel. When we have no positive and strong support, failure can be final and terminal.
CONCLUSION: Failure is fatal for the person who refused to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and lapsed into eternity in that condition. It is said that in the grave there is no repentance. God has provided a way out for mankind in the person of Jesus Christ. He is our Qualifier and Savior. Have a blessed month!