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Failure is often a gift of God

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As a younger man, I used to look at my failures and misinterpret what God was doing. When I was fired from my first job, I saw that as me failing – a demotion.   What I see in retrospect is that failure was God’s tool to move me to a posture of dependence. As long as I was in a posture …
By Seth Barnes
As a younger man, I used to look at my failures and misinterpret what God was doing. When I was fired from my first job, I saw that as me failing – a demotion.
 
What I see in retrospect is that failure was God’s tool to move me to a posture of dependence. As long as I was in a posture of self-sufficiency, I wasn’t particularly useful. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6)
 
God had to pry me out of that place of competency and failure was his tool to do so.
The problem is that I misinterpreted failure as rejection. I
saw myself going backward when actually, God was promoting me. I had
bought into the American model of advancement, not God’s.
 
Three years went by and I had climbed back into that place of self-sufficiency again. It wasn’t that I was arrogant or haughty. I was just overly focused on efficiency and doing everything as quickly as possible. The ministry I was building was growing quickly, but was doing so in a messy way. I was putting my business school skills to work and missing the fact that people were burning out.
 
When my friend and ministry partner asked me to step down from my position, I didn’t see him as God’s tool. I didn’t see God giving my poor perspective a needed adjustment. I saw my own failure and misinterpreted it as rejection once again. We had four young children and Karen was pregnant with our fifth child. My role was to provide for them and all I could see is that I was performing poorly at that job.
 
It took a few years, but in that place of dependance, I learned to rely on God in a new way. Prayer became much more important. My faith grew and I actually had something of value to pass on to the young disciples God sent my way. It was in that place of failure that God birthed AIM and it was there that he birthed faith in me.
 
Why did it have to be so complicated? Why do we so easily miss what God is doing? Who knows, but let me encourage you to learn from my mistakes. Perhaps you have gone through hard times and wondered where God is. Have you felt like a failure in the process? If you’ve been operating out of a paradigm of self-sufficiency, it’s normal to feel that way.
 
What I learned during my season of failure is that God was giving me a gift – the gift of faith. I just couldn’t see it at the time. Take another look at what’s going on around you. God is at work.

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