(Originally written, August 1991)

We live in a country that constantly emphasizes “winning” and “success”. Yet, most of us will just as often face failure. In 1990 approximately 60,000 U.S. businesses failed affecting hundreds of thousands of families. One morning last year the residents of a Florida apartment building awoke to a terrifying sight outside their windows. The ground beneath the street in front of their building had literally collapsed, creating a massive depression that Floridians call a sinkhole. Tumbling into the ever deepening pit were automobiles, pavement, sidewalks, lawn furniture, and soon their building. Perhaps you saw just last week on T.V. an entire house that was lost in a sinkhole.

Have you ever felt that your life was a sinkhole? Has that business opportunity fallen through? Has the dream collapsed? Have you also experienced trials in your personal life such as divorce, family strife, a traffic accident, or troublesome neighbors?

We all experience disappointment of one type or another in the course of our lives. The key is not what we face but how we face it. The Bible tells us of Job who lost his ranching empire, his children, and his health in a short time. His wife blurted out in despair, “Curse God and die” and he responded, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity?”

Fire swept through the Laguna Canyon destroying a botanical garden containing 2000 plants and flowers. The hillside was black. Yet within five months the hills were alive with the beauty of wild flowers which had not been seen in 100 years. The beauty was still there, just rearranged. At times what we consider to be disaster is simply the hand of God rearranging and redirecting our lives.

If you have a pulse, you will have problems. Some simply aggravate us while others hurt us deeply for years. Helen Hayes expressed it well when she said, “The toughest years in life are those between 10 and 70.” That’s why James writes in the Bible “Dear Brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”

So as you face failure just remember that God cares for you and others do also. And remind yourself that there is one thing more difficult to handle than failure, in fact very few survive a steady dose of it. It’s called “Success”, but that’s another letter.

May your darkest failures turn to light,


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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