Disappointments are a part of life. So is failure. So, also, is rejection. It hurts when we experience it. When things don’t work out as planned; when we fail in something, be it an exam, a career, or a responsibility; or when someone we love dumps us, it hurts. Sometimes it hurts like crazy. Getting upset or sad or angry is a natural thing, and we are entitled to it, but when it continues beyond a certain point, it is damaging and prevents us from moving forward and living the fullness of life. It also doesn’t allow us to realize God’s grand plans for our lives.
Yet, that’s what many of us do. We walk through life looking backward. We constantly replay our mistakes. We relive the injuries people have caused us. We bring all the bad things that happened to mind over and over and over again. To what point? There’s nothing we can do about it, is there? We cannot change the past. It’s over. But the future lies ahead.
And the future is bright. God has amazing plans for us. There are new doors he will open for us, leading to new experiences and new adventures. He has prepared fresh challenges that will allow us to attain great victories and achieve huge successes. He has people lined up along the path who will appreciate us, affirm us, encourage us, support us, and, oh yes, love us!
God wants us to enjoy all these things he has in store, but he cannot if we are looking in the wrong direction: backward. So, let us make our peace with whatever and whoever, and move on. Life is too short to waste moping on the past.
Let us take a page from the apostle Paul’s book. We lionize people in the Bible, and rightly so. However, we tend to forget that, with rare exceptions, they all failed at various points in their lives. But they never let these failures stop them from attaining success because they always looked ahead.
Even Paul had his share of failures. He loved Christ, and his overwhelming desire was to take hold of the fullness of the new life he had obtained through Christ. Despite trying his best, he occasionally failed, but he had a very healthy attitude toward failure. “Brothers and sisters,” he said in a letter he wrote to the Philippians. “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind I strain toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:12-14). He knew there was nothing he could do about what had happened, but there was plenty he could do about what was to be.
This is why he could declare toward the end of his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness ...” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
So, eyes up front! Great things ahead.