The Power of Failure

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

An audio recording at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Franscisco plays a great quote from Walt Disney.

Recounting business disaster early in his career, Walt Disney says: “I think it’s important to have a good, hard failure when you’re young.”

Think about those words: “a good, hard failure.”

Most of us think about failure being hard. Few of us think about failure being good.

However, Disney cherished his failure because it made him learn lessons, try harder, and appreciate success.

Others would say the same thing. It has been widely reported that:

·     Albert Einstein failed at math before he discovered the theory of relativity.

·     Michael Jordan failed to make his high school basketball team before making the NBA.

·     Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.

·     Henry Ford went broke five times before he succeeded.

·     Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express, received a "C" on his college paper detailing his idea for a reliable overnight delivery service.

·     Jack London received six hundred rejection slips before he sold his first story.

I have even read that there is a professor at MIT who offers a course on failure. He does that, he says, because failure is a far more common experience than success. An interviewer once asked him if anybody ever failed the course on failure. He thought a moment and replied, "No, but there were two Incompletes."

Now, all of those examples are inspirational – but they’re also human-centered responses to failure.

From a human perspective, when you fail, the best thing to do is to pick yourself up and dust yourself off, learn your lessons, and keep trying until you succeed.

There’s a deeper lesson about failure for followers of Christ.

For believers, the greatest positive power of our failures is that they chip away our self-sufficiency and cause us to lash our lives more securely to Jesus Christ.

Paul expressed this testimony in his own life, as he wrote about the “thorn in the flesh” that troubled him for so long, from which he prayed to be delivered three times and yet continued to endure. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Here’s how to pass God’s course on failure:

Let your failure move you to say to God, “Because I know my own failures, Lord, I’m trusting in you completely.”

He’ll work in your weakness to show Himself strong.

Have a great day, and keep moving forward!