"God Uses Failures in Life to Bring About Success"
Award of Outstanding Merit - $1,000
Bill Ellis is a weekly syndicated columnist who writes on a wide variety of subjects, with more than 1600 published columns to his credit. Bill's education includes a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Anderson University, a Masters Degree with emphasis in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Illinois, a second Masters Degree from Anderson University, plus studies at Marshall University and doctoral studies. He has traveled to every continent as a motivational speaker and has appeared before audiences in such countries as Kenya, Egypt, Israel, Thailand, and Guyana to name but a few. He utilizes the enjoyment of life and just plain fun when speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems and a warm sense of humor make him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He has spent 25 years as a radio and television broadcaster and as a guest speaker and teacher on college campuses.
© 2007, Herald & Review, Decatur, IL; March 10, 2007
John Keats called failure "the highway to success." An early American leader, Henry Ward Beecher, believed failure to be "a school in which the truth always grows strong." I do not know a single person who has not experienced failure and success in life.
Failure is described by such words as fiasco, disappointment, stumble, fumble, slip, dud, abortion, debacle, missing the mark, falling short, mishap and bust. It means we do not reach our intended goals. It is associated with weakness and incompetence. It can come early in life, at the mid-point or near the end. One of the most difficult things in human experience is to finish well after experiencing great success.
Success is related to fulfillment, accomplishment, achievement, attainment and reaching the goals a person has set for himself. The ancient philosopher, Sophocles, called it "the reward of toil." We often equate success with fame, fortune, riches, prosperity and being a winner.
In my few years of life, I have met, known and read about people in every walk of life who have had some degree of success. They have heard the applause of others. The list of failures I have known includes writers, teachers, lawyers, politicians, preachers, doctors, mothers, fathers, psychologists, actors, company executives, millionaires, musicians and anyone else you care to mention.
They drank the wine of success until they were made drunk and senseless by it. They were accomplished, skilled and successful in the eyes of their peers. Their position in life was a place to envy. Their biggest problem was that they did not know how to finish well and complete their mission in life.
The Bible, if for no other reason, should be read daily and seriously because of its honesty and integrity. It never paints anybody better than they are. Many of the prominent leaders whose stories are told in the sacred Scriptures became failures after they had enjoyed great success.
I received from Joann Holmes, words this scholarly lady could have written herself. They begin this way, "this next time you feel like God can't use you, just remember . . . Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow, Job went bankrupt, and Peter denied Christ. The Disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, the Samaritan woman was divorced more than once, Zaccheus was too small, Paul was too religious, Timothy had an ulcer and Lazarus was dead!"
Their story, for all to read, is told in the Bible. Even after terrible failure, God can still use you. Be deeply sorry you ever failed, ask God to forgive you and give it your best from here on. Perhaps we all
can assist someone who has sinned and failed to again enjoy a modicum of success. God specializes in turning failures into successes.
Here is a word of instruction for those who want to help those who have failed: "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1, NKJV).
If God could not use a failure, I would not be writing this message of hope, forgiveness and restoration. I am sorry for failure, but I cannot wait until I have reached perfection before I try to do anything right.
Join me today in getting up, standing up, facing up and never giving up in our efforts to do what is right.
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