It’s one thing when you and I have an experience of failure in our private lives. Our failure is known only to a small circle of friends and family. But it’s a totally different thing when you’re the most important political leader in the world and your every move is reported live by the news media around the world. Such was the case when President George Bush became ill and vomited at a state dinner in Japan—unfortunately including the Prime Minister of Japan in the “effects” of his ill health.
Granted, that probably doesn’t qualify as a personal failure. We don’t normally hold people responsible for illnesses they have no control over. But try telling that to former President Bush. He probably felt himself a failure when his embarrassing moment in Japan took place. Indeed, when he had lain down on the carpet in order to be attended to by his physician he moaned, “Just roll me under the table until dinner is over.” At least his “failure” didn’t cloud his sense of humor.
A bit better example of what we traditionally think of as failure happened in 1957 when the Ford Motor Company released to the public what it called “the car of the decade”—the Edsel. It was supposed to be the most dramatic advance in engineering and design since the invention of the automobile a half-century earlier. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the biggest bomb in the history of the automotive industry. It was, to put it mildly, a colossal failure. Ford’s best efforts to succeed turned out to be the worst effort in the company’s history.
Life is filled with failure, whether presidential, corporate, or personal. The person who does not learn to manage failure, to defeat the giant of failure, will soon find himself buried under a mountain of disgrace and shame. But the person who learns to profit from failure will find himself climbing ever higher mountains of accomplishment. What the giant of failure means to trip you with can turn out to be a ticket to the future. But only if we understand failure from God’s perspective.
David Jeremiah, Facing the Giants in Your Life: Study Guide (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), 108.