Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24)
I wonder how many of you have ever been in a situation that you truly believed God led you to… only to have it fail by no apparent fault of your own. Does this seem like an odd statement or do you know exactly what I’m talking about? I mean, you know God wanted you to do something, He confirmed it many times, you prayed throughout the entire endeavor to stay in God’s will, God opened doors for you, you worked your absolute hardest, and at the end of the tunnel stood that door-LOCKED!
While every situation is different and there are countless reasons behind every plan that was not seen through to completion, allow me to introduce merely one scenario that God has taught me a lesson through… I label this lesson: Planning to Fail. This sounds counterproductive but trust me- it isn’t in the case I’m referring to. You see, we always need to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and be willing to work as hard as necessary (for as long as necessary) in order to see God’s will done. However, I do believe that there are many times that God give us a particular command, that He knows we will not see the completion of, in order to do two things:
- To simply see if we are willing to trust Him enough to step out on faith and OBEY whatever it is He told us to do.
- To teach us how to follow Him, regardless of whether or not we have guaranteed success in our endeavor… and have absolute peace and just as much faith when that endeavor crashes and burns (or at least seems to).
Sometimes our “failures” come in the form of us hitting wall after wall with no sign of an exit. At other times someone/something else is responsible for the lack of productivity- through no fault of our own. Still, there are times when our own pigheadedness and sinful nature stops us from accomplishing all God has for us. And yet, there a few of those times when God just wants to test us and give us the learning experience that we need in order to do something else that He has for us later on. Does this necessarily mean that God did not order us to do it in the first place?
I do not believe so. Sure, we occasionally get our lines crossed and “mishear” what God said… but not always.
So, how do we know if we are in a situation that is either destined for great success or headed towards disappointing failure? WE DON’T! God does not expect us to always see the next step in something He’s called us to… but He does expect us to take that next step in faith, perseverance, and complete trust in Him. If it comes to a screeching halt- Great! Now you can look at all the things God may have been teaching you or someone else through that time period. Can’t think of anything you learned? That’s OK- you can come to God knowing that you obeyed what you believed He told you to do and know that every step of obedience on your part leads you to greater responsibilities and joys from Him.
The way we need to “Plan to Fail” is not by lack of trying, being pessimistic, or thinking it doesn’t matter how well we organize and “count the cost”. No, what I mean by saying this is that we need to be so caught up in the mission that God set us out on, that we can honestly say REGARDLESS of whether we succeed or fail- we are all in!!!
Obedience should never be conditional. It is wrong to obey only when we think it will be a smashing success and we should never avoid stepping out in obedience just because we think the task will be a dismal failure. God doesn’t call us to win every race… simply to run it to the best of our ability through His strength and our willingness to say YES to whatever.
We cannot look at every stop and go as failure or success in Kingdom work. God’s work is like His Word: living and active. That means it is always shifting, growing, and adapting to the need… what we see as failure rarely is- it could possibly be just a twist in the road that God has us on.
We need to work like we will always succeed, plan like we could never fail, have peace in every twist and turn, and obey regardless of the end result.