How God Turns Our Failures Into Success

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

How can God use our many failures and turn them into success? Believe me, it’s possible!

Using Failure

How can God use our many failures and turn them into success? I can’t count all the inventors who, if they had given up, would have never invented great things like the airplane, the light bulb, the television, and any other number of things. If we see failure as not being final, we’ll persevere and keep moving forward. If we can see that our failures can be launching pads for future success. One lady who was swimming across the English Channel finally gave up, but when she got in the boat, she could see through the fog that she was less than a mile away. If she’d known that, she said that she wouldn’t have given up. The point being, success may come just after the time when you feel like giving up. The great inventors learned that if it didn’t work, they kept trying and trying, but one thing they didn’t do. They didn’t give up.

Success Can Lead to Failure

I can also count numbers of people who, when they made it big, started to fall. Their successes went to their heads. Their pride led to their downfall. Once success came, they started to overestimate themselves. One pastor had several people tell him that his sermons were among the best they’d ever heard. He then asked his wife, “How many great preachers do you think there are in the world?” She wisely answered, “One less than you think.” Ouch! Pride comes, and then the fall. And the higher someone is lifted up, the harder the fall will be. There is a real risk for those who are successful to start believing their own stuff, thereby, their success sometimes led to failure, rather than let failure lead to success. It can happen to me, and it can happen to you. Some people just can’t handle success.

Success is in the Finish

In trying to inspire perhaps his favorite church, Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14). The point is, never trip over anything that’s behind you. God forgives (1 John 1:9), and we move on. We don’t drive backwards using our rearview mirror because if we give too much attention to looking back, we’re at risk for stumbling over something that’s right in front of us. I love the Author of Hebrews admonishment: “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Heb 6:10).

What Doesn’t Work

Thomas Edison would never have invented the light bulb if he gave up after 300 tries, or 500 tries, or a thousand! It was what didn’t work in his experiments that led to what did work. The point is he didn’t give up. He found out by trial and error (most error) how to make the light bulb that has been relatively unchanged for over a century. Edison’s trip down the road of failure was the same road that led him to success.

Blood, Sweat & Tears

Most people can pour their life into something and yet see no tangible or visible results, but it may be that just down the road that it all smooth’s out. The bumpy ride you’re having today may be easier once you’re down the road a ways. Nothing worthwhile comes easily and it may take a little blood, sweat, and tears to endure the road of failure which should ultimately lead to success. The only time you’re really defeated is when you stop moving.

Getting Strength

We can do nothing without Jesus Christ (John 15:5), but with Christ Who will strengthen us, we can do all things (Phil 4:13) within His will. That’s why the Apostle Paul could say, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil 4:12), so he would say, stay on the road, even if it appears to be going nowhere.  Paul was content with the ride.  Keep going and keep trying to find the road to success. This trip’s going to require us to be content with the ride, but it’s not so much the journey as it is the destination for believers.

Why God Created Us

The Finish Line

We are all pilgrims or wanderers in this life because we’re citizens of the kingdom and not of this world. For this reason, we must “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). Paul asks, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1st Cor 9:24)? He keeps pressing forward, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Phil 3:12). How about you? Are you pressing forward? Or, are you looking back? If you are, you might miss the turn that leads to success.

A Comma, Not a Period

I once heard a pastor tell someone who was contemplating suicide that God intended this to be a comma and not a period. How many heroes and heroines of the faith do you know that have failed time after time? How many famous Christians or believers you know have failed big time? There are too many to count. People like David, Jonah, Elijah, and many others. Every one of us will fall, but we can get back up again. Even if we’re disgraced, it’s not the end of the story. In fact, it might be the beginning of a new chapter in our life. After a great forest fire, from ashes to beauty, thousands of new trees burst forth to cover the mountains.

Failure is Not Final

Solomon once wrote that “the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Prov. 24:16). Perhaps Solomon knew very well what it meant to fall, as he fell into serious sin after marrying a foreign woman and falling into idolatry, but he did finally repent near the end of his life. The difference between Christians and the lost are that we can fall into sin, but the unsaved dive and swim in it and don’t seek to repent of it. We all fall into sin, but we don’t stay there. We get back up, and God forgives us of all our sins and then cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We get a fresh start every day!


A faith that’s not been tested is a faith that can’t be trusted. You may not be where you want to be, but at least you’re not where you used to be (Eph 2:1-2), right? Every one of us will make mistakes, but we’ll learn from them and grow from them. We’ll stop repeating certain mistakes. We can teach others that some things are not in their bests interests. We can use our examples of mistakes and failures to show others that God can bring out good in these things (Gen 50:20).  Concede the fact that it’s not going to be easy in this life living as a Christian. We must understand that we can’t do it without Christ, so let’s fix our eyes upon Jesus Who is waiting for us at the finish line.

Here is some related reading for you: 5 Ways Failures in Life Can Shape us into Who God Wants us to Become

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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