Any sort of setback that we suffer in our lives can at first be a catalyst for sorrow and cause us to question the direction that our lives are heading in. But we don't necessarily need to be saddened by failures or things not working out as we would have hoped. Setbacks are often the precursors to major comebacks. Maybe you have some examples in your own life where your grades were failing and knowledge of this spurred you into taking your academic work more seriously and subsequently exceeding expectations with your achievements. Or maybe you've experienced the breakdown of a relationship that freed you and gave you the perspective to pursue a partnership with someone who was a much better fit.
Although it may seem hard to fathom at first, we can learn a lot from things going wrong, sometimes more so than we can from things going right. Curveballs encourage us to assess our actions and identify areas for improvement in a way that success doesn't.
As Christians, we know that in all things, and that includes the "bad stuff", God is working for the good of those who love Him, seek Him and serve Him.
A change of course
It's no secret that setbacks can not only stall our progress but throw us off course. But this isn't always a bad thing. God communicates with us in a number of ways and sometimes the most important messages He conveys to us come when we mess up or when the things that we're trying to achieve go awry. So if a setback causes us to change direction, we shouldn't despair for too long but look to see where God wants us to head. The path we take which is fashioned by His hands will always lead us to glory that would otherwise be unattainable.
An alert to the drifters
Getting caught up in accomplishing our own plans and focusing our attention on how to obtain earthly gains can happen subtly over time. In contrast, setbacks tend to stun us quite suddenly. We're very aware of their inconvenience and how they abrupt our intentions. Our aspirations can be interrupted because they are causing us to drift away from God. It's not always easy for us to see that something that appears good or makes us feel great is creating distance between us and the Lord, that's why it can be necessary for us to be stopped in our tracks. We're always on course for great things when we're close to God. So, if we're an unconscious drifter – someone who doesn't realise that the route they're taking is adversely affecting their relationship with God – what may seem as several steps backwards is likely God calling you back to Him.
A renewed awakening to our need to trust in God
It's easy to trust God when everything is going smoothly, so much so that we can almost become oblivious to the fact that we're doing it. Setbacks jolt us into becoming conscious of our need to rely on Him and His trustworthy nature. It's essential that we maintain an awareness of our trust in God going forward from failure as it enables us to fearlessly carry out the work that He calls us to do. Not being afraid because we have nothing obvious to fear isn't the same as choosing to trust in God when there are many known possible risks. We'll accomplish much more and more impressive things when we do the latter.