Every day He [Jesus] was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill Him. Luke 19:47
Often the passage to a useful life leads through one or more doors marked “Failure.” The biography of John James Audubon tells how he left his studies in France to become a merchant in America. He ran a store and a grist mill but failed in both. Then he became a naturalist, especially a well-known painter of birds. The Audubon societies are named after him.
“Failure” was a word written in large letters in the life and labors of Saint Paul. Converted to the Christian faith, he wanted to do mission work in Damascus and then in Jerusalem, but he failed in both places. Then Barnabas took him along to Antioch, where his ministry could begin. But even in later years the apostle encountered failure. In some places all the doors were locked, and he could do nothing, for the handles were on the inside.
When you receive a setback in your plans, think not only of Audubon or Saint Paul; think of Jesus. In many towns people would not listen to Him. Even the people of Nazareth, where His home had been, literally ran Him out of town. His acceptance in Jerusalem wasn’t any better, and we hear Him say: “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).
Perhaps God wants to lead you from smaller to greater things. So He lets you experience setbacks and failures in these smaller things. Or He may force you to spend time on a sickbed, giving you the opportunity to think things through and to make plans for a more useful and satisfying life. He may lead you on unfamiliar roads, to strange cities in strange lands, so that your life will be fulfilling, to God’s glory and the good of all concerned.
We can live with disappointments if we keep in mind where we are, why we are here, and where we are going. We have the assurance of God’s loving-kindness, which He expressed to the full extent when He redeemed us and made us His own through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
PRAYER: Guide me, O Lord, so that I may under all circumstances live to Your glory and the good of others. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)