When Failure Hurts
by Juan Ocasio-Borrero
“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” Jesus Christ asked Peter the Apostle three times shortly after his resurrection (John 21: 15-16). Earlier that morning Jesus saw Simon Peter and the other Apostles fish all night and caught nothing, and although they didn’t recognize it to him, Jesus performed a miracle for them: they caught a huge load of fishes. (John 21: 1-6).
Peter must have remembered then what Jesus did when he accepted the Lord’s invitation to follow him and he became a ‘fisher of men’ (Matthew 4:18, 19). But now that Peter heard the Messiah asked him the same question three times: “Do you love me?” he was very sad. Simon knew when Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, captured, and tried by the High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin by night. Outside in the courtyard Peter waited for the outcome of his Master’s trial.
Peter was recognized by the people, and fearing of being caught, he denied Jesus three times. It was no surprise, because Christ prophesied that Peter will deny him three times before a rooster crow twice (Mark 14:30). The Bible said that Peter wept (Mark 14: 66-72). He failed Jesus miserably. He promised that even if all abandon Christ he would not (Mark 14: 27-29). But he did. He failed.
What a sadness Peter must have felt!
Have you felt that way before, who thought he was stronger than the other Apostles and disciples? Have you started a ministry or service for God, but never finished? Did you start strong doing God’s will, attended church services, but in time walked away? Do you feel you have failed God after you were saved and sinned? Is there any hope left for you?
You might feel hopeless, helpless, like a total failure. “God will not accept my prayers or repentance.” “Perhaps Christ will forsake me.” “I am alone.” you might say. Depression seems to sink in. “God has left me on my own.”
But that is not the case!
Jesus, understanding the upcoming trials of his disciple, encouraged Peter with these words: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired you to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22: 31,32). Even when the Devil weakened Peter in the time of his trial the Lord assured Simon that his faith will remain; even more, Peter will reach such level of strength he will inspire others through his testimony and his breakthrough!
Peter was the Apostle that lead in the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven during the Pentecost that caused many to be baptized in the name of Jesus and received the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts, chapter 2). Also, Peter was the first Apostle to baptize the first Gentile (non-Jewish) Christian through a vision given to him by Jesus Christ himself (Acts, chapter 10, see verses 34, 35, 44-48). Peter wrote two of the greatest letters to the Church, announcing a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).
In summary, do not get discouraged when things do not go the way you intended. God knows your heart and he promised that “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Joshua 1:5). Rest assured that even if [your sins] they shall be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)”. Jesus forgives your sins, strengthen you, and sends the Holy Spirit as a Comforter to bear witness with you about Christ (John 15: 26, 27).
You are precious to God, and rest assured that He loves you. That is why He sent His only-begotten Son to save you (John 3:16) and promised eternal life to His worshippers who are true to Him and overcome this world falling to perdition and destruction. Soon, all tears will fade away in God’s Kingdom where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there by any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:1-4)”. You can say with confidence: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me (Philippians 4:13).
You can learn one thing from failure: to trust in God (Proverbs 3:5); let Him direct your path all the time. With God you will surely attain victory, and the fulfillment of any endeavor for his glory.
Note: The verses used are taken from the King James version, 1611.
About the writer: Juan Ocasio-Borrero serves as a minister and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Geneva, NY. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and listen to Bible classes in YouTube: The House of Truth/Juan Ocasio Borrero.