“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6, NAS
One of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century thought he was a failure at the age of forty. Harry Truman despaired that he would never amount to anything as he struggled for twelve years to pay off the debts from his failed clothing business. Little could he have imagined that just two decades later, on a warm spring day, he would receive a phone call that would change his life and forever list him among the great men who would help to change the world. April 12, 1945, Truman took the oath of office and became the thirty-third President of the United States. He was quoted as saying, “I feel as though the moon and all the stars and all the planets have fallen upon me. Please . . . give me your prayers. I need them very much.”
John Maxwell writes about failing backward and failing forward. Harry Truman failed forward. We fail backward, Maxwell says, when: (1) failure keeps us from trying again, (2) we become negative or bitter. (3) we make excuses and blame others. We fail forward, he says, when: (1) we learn from our failure, (2) we discover our own true self, (3) we turn everything over to God.
Our text begins with an encouragement to “be strong and courageous.” It reminds us not to fear. More importantly, it teaches us to trust in God-commit ourselves to confidence in a God who is infinitely more powerful than the forces of failure. We are taught that “God is the one who goes with you.” He is incapable of failure! Moreover, His perfect success is your companion. “He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Take Maxwell’s inventory. Are you failing backward or failing forward? We all fail. Not one of us is immune to the very “fallen” characteristic of failure.
QUESTION: The question for all of us is: Will we remain in that condition or will we fail forward and find God’s strength leading us away from failure to His kind of success? How about you?