Topic: Failure

Author: Larry Ely (Youth Pastor)


The Set Up:

Usually, I am pretty good at video games. I can hold my own playing Call of Duty, Halo, Destiny, Battlefront, Madden, and most racing games. On this particular day, my kids talked me into playing a new game they have been enjoying called Fortnite. It is a third person shooter survival game in a colorful arcade style. Basically, in the free-for-all version, 100 players battle against one another on a big map that shrinks and the last one standing wins. For most gamers familiar with the style, it’s pretty easy to pick up and understand. So I figure, no problem I got this. I give it a try while my son Dray watches and explains the basics. However, there is one twist… crafting & building have been introduced.


I drop into the map from the flying Battle Bus and pick out a drop zone away from the masses and land by a nearby building. I knock down the wall with my pickaxe and go inside to find some loot. I find a gun, some ammo, and a health pack. Dray yells that an enemy is coming, so I turn and shoot and get my first kill. Hey, I’m feeling pretty good! The player dropped a purple epic assault rifle called a Scar which I am told is a good weapon. Feeling confident, I run down to this warehouse in “Dusty Depot” to find more loot. As I am searching, Dray tells me more enemies are coming.


The Struggle:

I struggle to cycle through my inventory to put my pickaxe away and bring up my fancy new weapon. I fumble over the game controls that are slightly different. I can’t find my gun, and I start to panic as the bad guy closes in on me. Dray is yelling at me that “He is coming!”, so I hide in a corner to buy some time. I finally get my weapon selected and try to crouch down to surprise the enemy. However, instead of crouching I push the build button! Remember the crafting mechanic? My character quickly builds a roof over his head and pins himself to the ground, gift-wrapping me for my enemy to promptly shotgun me in the back! Game over.


Laughter erupts from Dray as I yell, “What the heck just happened?” “Wow, dad, that was an epic fail!” he jabs. I start laughing and complaining about what kind of game puts a roof on your head in the middle of combat? Dray pokes back at me that I never even got to use my new weapon. I complain that the characters don’t respawn and resign to be humbled by my 10 year old, and not for the first time mind you. In fact, Dray has been the last one standing and won several matches because he knows not to build a cabin in the middle of a fight. Ha ha!


The Point:

Ok, so I stink at the game, what’s the point? The point is that we all fail at times. We fail in small ways like: messing up on a test, forgetting important things, saying mean things, burning dinner, breaking stuff, injuring ourselves, dropping the ball, missing the shot, or not doing our chores. Sometimes we fail in bigger ways like: failing to love, failing to forgive, failing to help, failing to be honest, failing to follow through on commitments, failing to communicate, failing to be a team, failing to act wisely, or failing to resist temptation.


The Take Away: How about you?

  • What have you failed at lately?
  • Can you think of a funny time you failed?
  • How about a serious time you failed?
  • Are there any epic fails that have been holding you back?


What do we do with our failure? Well… we can learn from it and use it to better ourselves, or we can allow it to define us, shame us, and keep us from trying again. Many of us have been wounded by failure and our fear of failing keeps us from moving on and moving forward. It can be hard to let it go especially when we are often reminded of our setbacks. Let me encourage you that maybe it’s time for a comeback, time to face your fear of failing, time to try again, time to reclaim your honor, and become who you were meant to be.


The Bible: Check out what God’s Word says about failure…


God’s Strength Never Fails:

  • “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”-Psalm 73:26

Don’t Fail to Follow God:

  • “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” Deut. 8:11

When We Fail, God Forgives:

  • “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9

Press On:

  • “… I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14


 Text: © 2018 LCC- F.R.O.G. Youth Ministry * Used with author’s permission * Image: Fortnite © Epic Games * Additional Images: google free use license




• The time I tried to impress a girl by making a rootbeer float in my mouth… fail!
• The time my buddies and I made a parachute out of a trash bag & jumped off a roof… fail!
• The time I lit a firecracker in a car and burned my leg… fail!
• The time I microwaved a hotdog for 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds… fail!
• The time I tried to do a 360 off a ski jump and lost my equipment all over the hill… fail!


In regard to his attempts to invent the light bulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas Edison
Abraham Lincoln lost or was defeated for government positions 8 times and faced major setbacks before he became President of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln