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2021 Day 5 – Successes and Failures

Day 5 – Plans, Hopes, and Dreams for 2021

“And keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:3, ESV).

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3, ESV).

“May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!” (Psalm 20:4, ESV).

“And David had success in all his undertakings, for the LORD was with him” (1 Samuel 18:14, ESV).

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17, ESV).

What are you wishing for in the year ahead? For us here at Vine to Branches, we have a lot of dreams and prayers as the year opens. In our new venture, we hope to gain an audience that will enjoy the simple thoughts we share about our Lord. We pray that God would use our work here to bring people closer to Him, and that there may be some drawn to our site who need a Savior and are searching for answers. We hope to be encouraged ourselves by the work we have set out to do, and we look to God to lead us and direct our thoughts, actions and words. But in reality, we can’t know what’s ahead for us here—only God knows. Whether success or failure, we pray that we will remain true to God’s plan for us and seek to follow Him individually and professionally. 

Life is ultimately made up of a series of successes and failures. Our successes bring us a lot of joy, but our failures can have a real tendency to derail us, causing us to become hurt, cynical or bitter. A big business proposal falls through and a competitor gets the commission rather than you. Or maybe month after month, the pregnancy test fails to give the long-awaited news, and your arms remain empty. You may have spent months studying for the final exam only to miss a passing grade by a point. The job promotion goes to your seemingly less qualified coworker. The son you love with every fiber of your being dabbles in drugs, and brings shame and embarrassment to your family. These are real life situations we may be called to face and, if we let them, they can make us feel like failures.

But God longs to use our sucker-punch situations to help us remember our real need of Him. Without experiencing failures, we will not realize the importance of our dependence on Him. If life were only a series of successes, we would become prideful and self-reliant. 

However, when we first experience failure, our successes feel more like victories. When our attempts to realize a dream have first been met with roadblocks, setbacks, twists and turns, our successes are so much more meaningful. And when we do have those periods of success, do we properly realize the blessing of God’s hand in it all? I know in my own experience, I can easily forget His part in all of it, and bask in the glory of seeing a dream become a reality, forgetting to properly acknowledge Him.

As the year unfolds, we will all have our share of failures and victories. Our failures aren’t meant to disable us, but they are opportunities to see where change is needed, and to see if our effort was supported by the Spirit. Many times, our greatest successes come on the heels of failure. May each of us take our dreams and goals to God in prayer and truly allow Him to lead or dissuade us. Don’t allow discouragement to get the best of you if God seems to direct you in a different way than you had hoped. Instead, be open to His leading, be obedient to His guidance, and wait to see where He will take you. It’s a humbling experience to see God clearly open doors and allow the pieces to fall together, seeing plans and dreams become a reality. And when that happens, may all glory go to our Heavenly Father, who gives graciously and abundantly to His children. 

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