He Is Good to Let Us Fail

On Tuesday, I felt like Superwoman.

I got a great night’s sleep, Austin and I had a fun outing at the library with friends, I felt strong during my workout, I worked a few hours while Austin napped, my clothes seemed to fit better, my hair fell exactly how I wanted it to, I cleaned the house, hosted a Bible study, and had time at the end of the night to talk to a friend on the phone.

It was incredible to accomplish so many things in one day, and for each individual activity to go so well. Is this my new life? I thought to myself as I sipped a cup of tea and sat on the porch, gazing at the lake.

And then I chuckled, of course it isn’t!

If we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that days like the one described above are the exception to the norm. Regardless of the activities that make up your “perfect day,” you would probably be quick to agree with me that that day comes around quite seldom.

But why?

Why can’t we have the feeling I felt on Tuesday all the time? Why is it normal, instead, to feel like we fail in one—or every—aspect of our day?

Believe it or not, the answer is quite simple: God desires that we fail.

At first read, this may seem ridiculous, hateful, or even sacrilegious. But it isn’t. The truth is, it’s in our best interest that God consistently allow us to fall short. This is the point of the Gospel.

If I had it my way—if all of my actions on any given day were perfect, and if I managed and controlled my day in such a way that I could applaud myself at the end of it for another job well done—I would see no need for God. I would BE a god, in a way: my own personal, self-loving, subjective god.

And that would be the absolute worst thing for me.

I believe God is sovereign. I believe He is in control of all our lives. I believe God is all-powerful and all-knowing and perfect. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you do too.

So if these things are true, then it must also be true that our best course of action is to follow and depend on God and not ourselves.

Of course, this is an extremely simple concept. But when we ask questions of God, like, 

Why did you let me fail?
Why didn’t you stop that from happening?
Why aren’t you answering my prayers?

We seem to be missing an extremely important connection.

God allows us to fail—and allows things of this world to fail us—so that, at the end of the day, we realize that there’s literally nothing else to depend on.

My spouse, my child, my job, my hobbies, my looks, my money, my health, my goals, and so much more will all prove fickle. Only a cruel god would let us find peace and comfort in these things, allowing us to live a lie as we trust in the “shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1).

What God has is better, even when it’s harder, because it’s with Him. Anything else, no matter how incredible it seems, is a sad alternative.

I think of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, and I wonder, what if things in that man’s life had gone well? What if, after he pridefully demanded his inheritance and left his family, he profited financially and grew to be successful despite his immoral, inane practices?

The short answer is he would never have returned to his father. And, as this story is an analogy for our relationships with God, that is a terrifying thought.

So today, in the midst of a workload that seems too heavy to bear and muscles that feel too weak to lift it, I will praise God for allowing me to fail. For it is in failing I find, time and time again, that He is all I need.