Reading: Hebrews 12:5-17
"Though He was Son, yet He learned obedience
through the things He suffered" (Heb 5:8)
Disadvantages in life usually keep us humble and obedient. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was one of the most godly and successful American Presidents. He had a difficult childhood. His formal schooling was for less than a year. He failed in business in 1831 and was defeated for the legislature in 1832. The next year he again failed in business. His fiancee died in 1835. He was defeated for speaker in 1838. When he got married, his wife became a burden for him. Only one of his four sons lived past age 18. He was defeated for congress, Senate and vice-presidency. But he was elected as President in 1860!
There is no one without failures in this world. For those who love God no failure is final. Failures, crises, suffering, losses, disappointments and such things belong to the same category. In the providence of God, all these can be redemptively used to learn obedience.
Why does God take us through difficult and depressing situations? Hebrews 12:9 seems to give the most satisfying answer: "We have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live?" Jesus was not exempted from this experience except that in His case there was and could be no failure but only suffering. The Son of God as the Son of Man graduated with honours in the School of Suffering, with obedience as the major (Heb 5:8).
Except in very rare circumstances, failures in life are due to disobedience to the Word of God and His revealed will. Failures are God's attention-getters. Failures bring us to knees. Repeated failures make us prostrate before God. If we don't learn from failures, we are only learning to fail. Henry Ford forgot to put a reverse gear in his first car. No one repeated that mistake. Hear the testimony of the Psalmist: "Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your Word... It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes" (Psa 119:67,71). Failures break our arrogance and make obedience easy.
Some failures are beyond us, but we are responsible for most of them. An objective analysis of these failures would teach us how we can avoid them by watchfulness and diligence.
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