By Robert White

Dr. Robert White was raised in central Florida and completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. After college, he completed the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. For more than 40 years he has served as pastor of churches in Florida and in Massachusetts. In October 2016, Dr. White joined Care For Pastors as a Pastoral Counselor/Coach. Robert currently resides with his wife, Kaye, in Leesburg, Florida.

    What Failure Can Teach Us

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021

    So many of us have felt the pain of losing. We all have lost things during this pandemic. The challenges we have faced are overwhelming and they seem insurmountable. It is hard to find an area of our lives that has not been affected by the presence of Covid-19. We have lost so much to this virus. We have lost income, jobs, momentum, church members, connections, loved ones, confidence in ourselves, confidence in our country, confidence in our leadership, confidence in our calling, and on and on we could go. And who knows what “normal” will look like?

    In our text (John 11:47-57; 18:1-28), the high priest of Israel, Caiaphas, understood winning and losing. As the official head of the Jewish state and presiding leader of the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas was the most powerful and influential leader in the country. He was second only to the Roman governor.

    After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Caiaphas became deeply concerned about the growing influence of this nobody from Nazareth. Caiaphas called a meeting of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Israel, and demanded the death of Jesus. He covered all his bases and made sure there was no way to fail. He plotted with others to have Jesus arrested, falsely accused, illegally tried and condemned to death.

    It appeared that Caiaphas had won the game. His adversary was about to be eliminated and he would be rid of him forever. But in a few days, the loser became the winner.

    In AD 36 Caiaphas was removed from office by the proconsul and nothing more is ever heard about him. By comparison, Jesus, the apparent loser, became the greatest victor of all history. He rose from the dead, conquered sin, death and hell, and reigns forever as LORD and KING.

    Success and failure don’t always play out as we expect them to. Sometimes failure can be the very thing that leads us out of bondage and into freedom.

    Pastor, author, and leadership expert John Maxwell wrote, “Failure is a tutor and not a judge.” If we allow God to work out His purposes in our lives, failure can become the gateway to true success.

    Perhaps this pandemic was designed or allowed by God to strip us of some of our self-confidence and replace it with some newfound God-confidence. Maybe all the things we have lost are intended to redirect our attention to the life-transforming grace of our great Savior.

    What is true success? Living every day, in every circumstance, with a conscious dependence on the Lord.  He will actually engineer our failure so we will learn to trust Him more.  And in the end, isn’t that TRUE SUCCESS?

    Pastors, you are not alone.  You don’t have to face the challenges of ministry by yourself.  We are here to help.  Reach out to us at

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