Some people allow their life to be defined by failure. Others learn valuable lessons from their failures and even see them as a blessing from: Chuck Colson is one of these people, and he recognized the benefits of his burdens:
The real legacy of my life was my biggest failure. Being sent to prison was the beginning of God’s greatest use of my life!
Colson’s life was a living example of something that Billy Graham said: “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.” Colson had lived the mountaintop experience as Attorney General during the Nixon administration. When the Watergate scandal forced the resignation of President Nixon, Colson was sent to prison for the role he played in that fiasco.
During the valley years of his incarceration, Colson became a Christian, and God eventually spoke to him about the many and varied needs of his fellow inmates. Colson would later start Prison Fellowship as an outreach ministry inside prison walls throughout the country: This is the fruit that started to grow during Colson’s valley years.
Society is often premature in its attempt to label a person a failure. Let me give you a couple of examples:
- Daniel Defoe wrote Robin Crusoe while he was in prison.
- John Bunyan wrote the Christian classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, while in the Bedford jail.
- While he was confined in the castle of Wartburg, Martin Luther translated the Bible.
The hopes and dreams of each of these people were shattered; but, they refused to wallow in self-pity. Seeing their faith, God turned their tragedy into triumph and their burdens into blessings.
History is full of examples of people who defied the odds and overcame their failure. B.C. Forbes has said:
History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They finally won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats. disappointments acted as a challenge. Don’t let difficulties discourage you.
Tragedies and trials are experienced by everyone at some time in their lives. I want to make sure you understand that last sentence, so I’ll repeat three of the words: “experienced by everyone.” When you go through your time of personal sorrow, loss, or disappointment, remember that this is not an experience that is unique to you—it is universal in its scope.
As a Christian, Jesus has promised to walk with you through the hard times. He said: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, and my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).”