Would God allow you to fail? Well, I guess that depends on how you define, “fail”. Oxford dictionaries define fail as 1) an unsuccessful attempt to reach ones goal, or 2) neglect to do something…
That being said, and considering Romans 8:28…
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
…God promises that all things work together for our good when we are called according to HIS purpose.
So, God is saying His definition of success is when our goals are according to His purpose, but we all know that sometimes our goals aren’t aligned with God’s purpose.
We must understand that sometimes when things don’t work out according to OUR plans, it isn’t always, ‘the devil’.
A good example is in 1 Kings Chapter 12. King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son didn’t listen to the sound advice of the older men who stood before his father, but rather listen to the bad advice of the young men who were raised with him. This led to a bad decision that led to Rehoboam losing the loyalty of the people and the kingdom being split. But look closely at what verse 15 says…
15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
God actually set Rehoboam up to fail, but only because of His own pride and hard heart. Though there are many in the bible, this serves as a perfect example for us today.
Let’s look at a few reason why God would ‘set us up to fail’. Some of these will overlap somewhat, but I think you will get the picture.
YOU MOVED WITHOUT CONSULTING GOD AND HIS WORD…
How many times have we made a decision because it was something that we wanted so bad…we didn’t want to consult God. Sometimes we even reason that if it wasn’t meant for us, God wouldn’t have sent the opportunity.
The truth is, that the enemy sometimes presents himself as an ‘angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14), and some ‘good’ opportunities aren’t good for us. You may have accepted a job or relationship that actually came between you and God. God loves you enough to sometimes, ‘get in the way’, to make us lose that which is not good for us.
YOU CONSULTED GOD AND HIS WORD, BUT IGNORED IT…
Sometimes we consult with God, and we know that what we want is clearly not His will, but we do it anyway. In 1 Kings Chapter 2, evil King Ahab complains that Micaiah is a prophet that, “I hate him, because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad…”. King Ahab consistently acted against the prophet’s advice, and it led to his downfall.
When we step out on our own, knowing better, God will sometimes intervene, or strategically shape events that will allow us to ‘fail’ so that we can get back in line with God’s will.
YOU CONSULTED GOD BUT MISUNDERSTOOD…
There are times when we just simply misunderstood what God would have us do. We may have even gotten some bad spiritual advice. Sometimes God will lovingly allow things to fall apart, so we (and those around us) can learn from that mistake and move on wiser and stronger.
YOU STEP OUTSIDE HIS WILL..
Sometimes we can be on the right track, but get DIStracted. This can happen to the best of us. As I said above, God will sometimes allow us to fail, lose something or someone, so we can get back on track according to His will.
GOD IS TRYING TO MOVE YOU TO WHERE YOU’RE MEANT TO BE…
I love the example in 1 Kings Chapter 17 when the prophet Elijah was right where God placed him and wanted him to be. He was being fed by the ravens, and drank from the brook of Cherith, but the brook dried up and the ravens stopped bringing the food. God allowed what was sustaining Elisha to fail, because He was ready for Elisha to move on to his next assignment.
Sometimes God has to allow things to ‘dry up’ to get us to move on…sometimes we’ve stayed there too long…Sometimes we’ve completed our assignment…Sometimes God knows you will get comfortable where you’re not meant to be and has to allow you to ‘fail’, be rejected, be ignored, be embarrassed, be unproductive…He has to do what it takes to get you to move on where you meant to be.
Can you look back over your life and honestly see where what you thought at the time was a ‘failure’ was actually God redirecting you to success.
Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)
21 There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.