Someone once said, “There is dignity in suffering; nobility in pain; but failure is a salted wound, that burns and burns again.” The truth is, no one is exempt from failure. Failure and success, most of the time, go hand in hand.
It is believed that most successes have been built on failures, not one failure alone but several. There are two benefits of failure. First, if you fail, you learn what does not work, and, secondly, the failure gives you an opportunity to try a new approach. No person is a failure as long as he does not lose courage and stop fighting. Our greatest glory is not that we have never fallen, but that we get back up every time we fall.
As we evaluate accomplishments we can find people who have accomplished much in their lives. The question is, can we do it all alone? Can we accomplish everything by ourselves? Some think that because of their family background they can achieve and accomplish everything, but a high percentage of great men and women have come from humble and, sometimes, broken homes.
Some think that wealth brings achievement, success, and prestige; but wealth is not a great and wonderful indicator of high achievement. Many successful people have come from humble environments and beginnings.
Some think that high morals alone bring success and achievement; but there are men and women who have high morals yet are low achievers.
Some think that the absence of hardship brings success; but there are people who have come from difficult circumstances who became successful achievers.
Consider the story of Peter walking on water. This was no small achievement or accomplishment—walking on water. What is even more fascinating is that a few minutes before walking on water with Jesus, Peter was fighting, struggling, and almost failed at controlling the fishing ship from the wind that was blowing so hard and fiercely.
One moment Peter is fighting the winds to stabilize the ship and at the other moment he is walking on water with Jesus. One moment he is almost a failure and the next he is an achiever.
Are we struggling right now? Are we facing hard times in our job, family, finances, ministry, and health? Are we ready for the situation to change? If we are, then we should claim the power of God. Let us claim His promises and wonderful grace.
Without God we cannot achieve and succeed in anything. Our wealth, family background, fame, opportunity, or high morals will not and cannot help us or save us. It takes someone outside of ourselves to help us and guide us to achieve success and eternal life.
There are many ways—in fact, countless ways—that God can shape our lives and make us better persons fit for heaven. Each one of us is constructed differently and we respond differently to the call and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
For some, all it takes is a look from the Lord as in the case of Zacchaeus. The Lord looked at Zacchaeus in the tree, called him, and he came down.
For some, all it takes is a noonday conversation, as it was in the case of the Samaritan woman at the well, who came to draw water.
For some, all it takes is to wash in the river, as it was in the case of Naaman the leper, the Syrian general.
For some, it may take a midnight confrontation, as it was in the case of Nicodemus. He came under the cover of darkness to speak to Jesus, and was never the same afterwards.
For some, it may take being blinded by a light, as it was in the case of Paul on the way to Damascus.
It is not what men or women can achieve or possess, but it is what God can do with the man or woman sho surrenders his or her life to Him. Be an achiever for God.
Leon Thomassian is the Atlantic Union Conference treasurer and trust services director.