If you are so afraid of failing that you never try, how is that worse than failing?

If you are so afraid of failing that you never try, how is that worse than failing?

Psalm 37:23-24

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

Failure is Never Final

I have failed so many times that I’ve lost count, but my greatest failure was to not even attempt something. Failure has many benefits, the greatest of which being what we learn from failing. I have learned more from my failures than I ever have from my successes. When we fail–and we all do–it seems we learn the why of failing, and we can hopefully learn not to repeat the same mistakes over again. I believe it is worse not to try at all than to try and fail because in the attempt at trying, you can either succeed or you can learn from your failure. We have God’s promise that even if we fall seven times, we will rise again (Prov. 24:16). He will uphold those who fall and lift up all who are bowed down (Psalm 145:14), but if we never try and then fall, God cannot lift us up. If we don’t even try, we’ll do worse than fail; we’ll miss a golden opportunity to do something great for God and His glory.

We All Stumble

Everyone that I know of has failed, and everyone I know personally has stumbled. Even if we stumble, God will hold us up in His hand, and no fall is fatal (Psalm 37:23-24). That’s how children learn to walk–they take small steps, one at a time, then fall but keep on going. The child who’s afraid to take a step and risk falling will never learn to walk. James writes that we all stumble and fall and that none of us are really perfect (James 3:2). What keeps most of us from doing great things for God is that we’re afraid to fail and might stumble and fall, but the fall doesn’t mean defeat. To never try is the greatest failure of all because then we’ll know that we’ll never succeed. Great rewards always come from great risks, and our faith is based upon our belief in a God we’ve never seen. Even though we’ve never seen Jesus, we believe in Him. So why are we so afraid to try and risk failure when not even trying is the greatest failure of all?

Failure Is Our Friend

The psalmist thought it was good when he was afflicted so that he could learn God’s decrees (Psalm 119:77). God commands us to be strong and courageous and not be terrified or discouraged because, as He was with Joshua and Israel (Joshua 1:9), He will be with us, too. When Peter desired to walk on water and go out to meet Christ, he might have been afraid, I am sure; however, he took that first step, risking failure and sinking into the water (Matt. 14:29). It was only when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked down at the water that he started to sink (Matt. 14:29-30), but then Jesus took his hand and kept him from drowning from his own doubts and fears (Matt. 14:31). Peter wasn’t afraid to try and fail. What if he had never tried in the first place? He might have always wondered “what if.”

A Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, I am afraid at times of failing. Take my hand and help me to know that even in failure, there is something to gain and that if I don’t even try, it’s worse than failure. I thank You and pray in the holy name of Jesus Christ.


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