Failing Doesn’t Make You a Failure

Sunday morning on the way to church, my oldest daughter said, “Mom, I’m reading through each Gospel, comparing the words spoken.” And my heart soars that she cares.

“I have a question,” she said. She read this to me:

” ‘As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

” ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter.’ “Mark 16:5-7

And Peter.

“Mom, why do you think the angel singled out Peter?” she asked. “He was a disciple.” (my NIV study notes state that the ‘young man’ was an angel)

Why wasn’t he lumped in with the team? she’d wondered.

And sometimes we wait for the answers …

I certainly don’t know all the answers, but I turned around from the front seat, peering into the back, and told her something like this

“Baby, do you remember what Peter had just done to Jesus? He had just denied Him three times. Three times.” And without my Bible in front of me, I said, “Do you remember how Peter tore his clothes? Peter was miserable. He may have even hated himself for what he’d done, what he’d done to Jesus, to himself, to his team. He’d done wrong, and he hurt the one he lovedJesus.

“And you know, I imagine everyone had heard what Peter had done,” I continued. “You know how word gets around. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some considered Peter completely useless. A failure. And I’m sure Peter felt like a failure. Useless. Could the ‘team’ have even considered him useless? A failure?

“But what a sweet lesson … the angel was telling them not to forget about Peter. He’s still in this game. He’s still use-able. And the angel singled him out, showing how important he still was in spite of his imperfectionsGod had great plans for Peter. Don’t give up on Peter. Include Peter. Go … tell Peter.”

And what a joy to find the answers. My daughter’s smile grew, her eyes enlarged with a glow. She had caught the excitement of exactly what God can do for us

Peter had been caught and kept. He wasn’t thrown back because he was too small, not worthy, didn’t measure up.

Praise God for Peter’s story, because that means there’s hope for me. I’ve felt like Peter. I’ve let down others, let down myself. I’ve mourned yesterday.

And like Peter, something whispers to me, “Failure.”

The tempter continues, “You should have been …”

And with tears pooling, I’m hooked captive to failure.

But God singles me out. He frames my face with His hands and whispers into my heart, “Failing doesn’t make you a failure.”

Truth within my heart perseveres.

Failing is God’s heavenly lure to keep one striving, loving, hoping, and serving.

We’ve been caught and kept. Praise God, we’re still in this game. 

And … (insert your name here).

Take hold of the lure and be encouraged. Let Jeremiah 29:11 ring your heavenly lure’s bell today” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.’ “


Have you felt like you’ve let down God? Let down others? Have you felt like a failure? Have you seen God turn your failures around? Do you have anything to add to my daughter’s question? I’ll tell her your input … I promise!

4 thoughts on “Failing Doesn’t Make You a Failure

  1. You're a good mom Shelli. I think you're correct. I think that Peter needed to know that he wasn't seen as a failure by God because of his weakness, fear and denials. I think God prefers to use people who have failed, look through the bible, its full of them. Failures know what its like to fail, seek forgiveness, receive grace and repurpose their efforts for a great cause. God not only forgave Peter, He used him in a powerful way in spite of his weakness. When we struggle, fail and feel worthless we really should think of it as a time of seasoning to be used at some point for a specific purpose in His Kingdom.


  2. Thank you, Gene. You know, I discovered years ago that my favorite speakers were the “failures.” And they were the ones who seemed to passionately love God … the ones who didn't take God's love and rescue for granted …. I remember the first time I heard Beth Moore speak … hearing her testimony, her failures, and seeing her love for God … I thought–I want to love God “that” much. 🙂


  3. Awww, Shelli, what a beautiful post. I'm with Gene. Your answer was perfect. I love the truth that just because we fail, we are not failures in God's eyes. I'm so thankful He not only doesn't expect perfection of us, He gives us grace when we fail—Him, ourselves, in situations.

    I've definitely fallen into the tempter's lies, believing them hook, line and sinker. And he's sunk me into the mire when I listened. God is helping me to know how HE sees me. And failure is not in His description. What freedom is in that truth.


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