The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Not Planning to Fail
I heard the old saying that if you fail to plan, then plan to fail. There is some truth to that, but when mankind plans things and thinks they’re really in charge, it is actually God that establishes their steps, even if they don’t know about it. God can change a pagan king’s heart to go wherever He wills it (Prov. 21:1), so surely the hearts of His own children are not beyond His control and purposes. We have a lot of plans in our lives, but it’s really God’s plans and purposes that come to pass in our lives (Prov. 19:21) for our best.
I did a lot of rock climbing when I was younger and vividly remember having a couple of missteps where I almost slipped and fell, but apparently God knew that was going to happen. In the process, I learned to be more careful and test where my steps were going to go next. Even if I did fall–and we all do fall–the worst that could happen still works out for our best in the end (Rom. 8:28). Even better, if we live a life that shows our delight is in Him, He promises to give us firm footing in life (Psalm 37:23). God never promises we’ll never fall, but we’ll be on more solid ground, even when we get up from a fall in life. Contrary to what we believe, no one really can find his or her own way outside of the purposes of God (Prov. 20:24), and I’m okay with that. How about you? What if “failing” is part of God’s plan for your life? Is it really failing if God has part of that as His plan?
Failure Is not Final
When Peter denied Jesus three times, his denial was not final (Mark 14:71) because Jesus forgave him for that and he was restored to the Lord (John 21:15-17). Even the great persecution that hit the early church served to spread the Gospel throughout all of Judea (Acts 8:1). Failure is never final, even though it may seem like it at the time, but God can use our failures to achieve His purposes for our life. If it takes failure to bring about a greater purpose or plan for our life, then it’s not really failure if it falls within God’s purposes. A neighbor’s tree was blown down by a storm a few years ago because it was full of dry rot, but the thing is, after the old tree was cut up into firewood and taken away, new sprouts came up and looked much healthier than the original tree that had fallen, so there is even hope for a tree that falls to the ground (John 14:7). We must remember that God prunes us in order that we might produce more fruit in the end (John 15:2), even though the pruning is admittedly painful at the time.
A Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father God, You know that I have failed You many times, but my failures are not final. These all work according to Your good purposes, so help me to keep this perspective and to give You praise in the storms of life. In Jesus’ name I pray.
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