Dear friends,

Everybody fails. It is not that we fail all of the time, but that we cannot live without failing in some of our endeavors. For a Christian, how do we live after failure?

There is a wonderful Scripture text which historically has played a key role in Anglican worship. Morning and
Evening Prayer are “orders of worship” that a person can do by themselves in private worship and they can also be used for public worship. Early on in both Morning and Evening Prayer there is an exhortation which explains
worship and calls us to worship. As part of that exhortation, Ezekiel 18:23 is paraphrased. The original text [ESV] is, Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live. The Prayer Book paraphrase puts it in the form of an exhortation, “God takes no delight in the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his wickedness, and live.” Ezekiel wrote before Jesus. His promise is even more powerful after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Now we know that we truly are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. In love and mercy, God held nothing back. He gave us His only Son to take our place so that He bore our doom and we are granted His destiny.

When we fail, we are tempted to despair. But God desires us to live. So, after failure, come to God in prayer. Thank Him for Jesus. Thank Him that in Jesus, God’s final word about you will not be, “rejected as a failure.” In Jesus His “final” word to you will be, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Ask the Lord what He wants you to learn after failure. Be ready to repent of any sin on your part which contributed to failing. Ask the Lord to make clear to you the role that your pride plays in your feelings of despair after failure. Ask Him to help in repenting of pride. Ask Him to help you to have a humble confidence in Jesus. Ask the Lord to make clear to you whether this failure is a stop sign or a sign for humble persistence to try again or a guideline that you are to move in a new direction.

In particular, mindful of Jesus as your gracious Saviour and Lord, ask Him, “What’s next?” Spend less time in prayer dwelling on the past and more time asking the Lord, “What’s next?” “What would You have me do now?” Remember that in Jesus, God is never finished with you. Given your eternal destiny in the New Heaven and Earth, He has only just begun!

George +