From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
There’s nothing that indicates the inspiration of the Scriptures more than the factual and faithful record of men and their failures. These records are for our warning and instruction.
When failure comes, it helps to ask these questions: Could I have done anything to prevent this? Were my hopes or dreams unrealistic? Were my motives wrong? Is there a sin I need to confess or a new path God wants me to explore? What can I learn from this experience—even if it was unavoidable? What is God trying to teach me?
The story is told of a man who spent most of his life chasing schemes. None worked out, leaving him nothing when he retired. Why had he repeatedly failed? The answer was that he’d never listen to advice or heed his friends’ warnings. He always blamed others for his failures and refused to learn from his experiences.
The Bible says, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15, NIV). Sometimes God uses life’s disappointments to draw us closer to Himself or teach us patience and trust. He also may use them to redirect us toward His will.
For the Christian, when God closes one door, He often opens another—if we seek it. The Apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11, NIV). He wrote those words while in prison, his plans disrupted and his future uncertain. The reason he could say this, however, was because he had learned to see disappointment and failure from God’s perspective, and to trust the future into His hands. “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths” (Psalm 25:4, NKJV).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)