Saturday, February 8, 2014

Handling The Stress Of Failure

Have you ever been in a leadership position? If you have then you know that being a leader is not all fun, glory and power. The leader is not some boss who sits back and tells other people what to do. The boss facilitates the success of others so he too becomes a success. When it all goes wrong there is no one else to blame but the boss, because even if the failure was by people under him, he is still to blame because he did not support, encourage and equip as he should have. A good boss feels and takes on the failures of those for whom he is responsible.

The interesting thing is how good bosses handle failure. A great example of a somewhat brilliant leader is David, even before he was king. The part I want us to consider is when David was in exile in Palestine with his mighty men. To get away from the deranged king Saul they had sought refuge in their enemy's camp. One day, while they had been away from their settlement, the army of another enemy had come in, destroyed their town and left with their women and children. This came as a complete shock to this group who had never experienced defeat.

David was the leader so their sorrow and frustration were focused on him. He was under pressure and he could feel it, at the same time he is trying to deal with his own loss. So does he resign? Does he walk away? Does he become so stressed that he is of no use? Does he make foolish decisions? Does he shrug his shoulders and accept the loss? Let's pick it up here:

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:6)

David did the only thing he knew how to do, he sought strength in his relationship with Yahweh. Not only did he seek strength but he sought counsel as well. He inquired of the LORD what he should do and he received this instruction:

“Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” (v. 8)

David rallied his men and they went after the army that had come against them. They went into the enemy's camp and took back what was theirs. David went into the battle, against a large enemy with only 400 men and he destroyed the enemy, except for 400 who escaped on camels. This was not because David was a brilliant leader but because he was an obedient servant of Yahweh.

The thing that David did right as a leader is the same thing we are instructed to do every day, leader or not: We are to strengthen ourselves in our relationship with Jesus and be obedient to his instructions. The thing is not to quit. There are no lessons but defeat in quitting. It looked like David and his men were defeated but thankfully those mighty men were following a man who was following the LORD. David did not accept defeat and sought out the will of his God.

There is nothing too big for Yahweh. There is no obstacle that he cannot remove. There is no enemy he cannot defeat. There is nothing he cannot do. What is impossible for man is an easy matter for the Creator of all things. We cannot afford to forget who we serve. David went from a fugitive hiding in the enemy's camp to king over Yahweh's nation. What looks like defeat to you today is a trivial matter compared to the plans of our LORD. We have to show ourselves trustworthy with the small things, including defeats, in order to move on to the greater things.

These two things you should never forget. No matter what you are facing, no matter the stress and pressure, never quit. Instead, do these two things: strengthen yourself in your relationship with Jesus and seek his counsel. Trust the LORD in all things and he will see you through.

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