Seeing God in our failures

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Recently, I was blessed to read my son’s essay for the college he was applying to. His objective was to share a time when he experienced failure and the lesson learned. With his permission, I will share that essay by C.J. Goolsby with you.

“I remember the first time that I really experienced failure. I was in the sixth grade and my school had just announced that middle school baseball tryouts were coming up and I was extremely excited. I had played baseball in many recreation leagues since the age of four and believed that I had a pretty good chance of making the team.

“As tryout practice was coming to an end, the coach asked us to run the bases and while doing so he called out some of the kids one by one to tell them that they were not going to make the team. No matter how I felt about my play during the tryouts, the coach believed I was not fit for the team; therefore, I was called out and cut from the team. The effect on me was complete devastation and before the coach could even finish speaking, I started crying and burst into tears.

“After the disappointment of not making the team, I contemplated whether I wanted to play baseball again. My dad found a way to encourage me by telling me ‘the world is not ending’ and that ‘sometimes God closes one door and opens another door for the path we desire might not be the path that God desires for us.’

“Through deep reflection, I began to understand what my father was trying to convey to my younger self that even though being on the baseball team was something I wanted, it wasn’t where God wanted me at the time using the talents that He blessed me with. I subsequently went on to play baseball with another recreational team. We had an outstanding season and really enjoyed playing together. I learned to use other talents on the field as a pitcher and as a catcher enjoying them both. I also made new friendships that I would not have made had I not continued to play baseball.

“I learned that disappointments or failures are not the end of everything. Because some people may say that you’re not good enough does not make it true. I cannot value myself based on the opinions of others and what they say. Having the success in the recreational league after the failure of not making the middle school baseball team encouraged me to try out for other teams at school. I subsequently made each team and played middle school, junior varsity, and varsity basketball at my school. I made the varsity track team and qualified as a school representative in the Florida State University relays. I also ran cross country and was nominated for athlete of the year in Henry County, Georgia.

“I learned from this experience to always put my faith and trust in God for He knows what is best for me.”

Thank you C.J. for encouraging your dad to always be thankful, even in my failures.

In the service of Jesus the Christ.

Pastor James W. Goolsby Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church on New Street in Macon.