Failure Is Part of the Plan

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By Adam C. Olson, Church Magazine | July 2018

Often we look at failure as something that is bad or wrong…and perhaps sometimes it can be.  However, failure, if faced with faith, can also lead us to have more meaningful lives, prepare us for a higher level of success, and draw us closer to God as we persevere with hope in our hearts.

A good portion of the internet seems to be dedicated to celebrating the “epic fail”—from Pinterest fails to videos of botched backflips. Maybe we simply crave to know that we’re not alone when our best efforts don’t seem good enough. Well, there’s another way to know.

If you feel like your days are filled with failure, take heart from the scriptures. They are full of the less-than-perfect efforts of some pretty amazing people. Here are just a few of their lessons that can help you realize you’re probably doing better than you think you are.

1. Faith doesn’t prevent failure; it makes it meaningful.

Nephi was full of faith as he and his brothers went back for the plates of brass, but that didn’t keep them from failing miserably—twice (see 1 Nephi 3). But his faith in the face of failure helped turn his failure into preparation for success. Did earlier failed encounters with Laban help prepare Nephi to recognize him, impersonate him, find his house, and make it out with the sacred records? We don’t know for certain. But we do know that our future success is often built on top of past failures.

2. God anticipated our failures and planned ahead.

After Joseph Smith learned that the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript were missing, he cried, “All is lost!”1He knew he had failed. He knew he would be rebuked and possibly even cast off. And yet all was not lost. God had anticipated Joseph’s failure nearly 2,000 years earlier and was prepared for it.

Similarly, God anticipated our failures long before the world was created.2 He is able to turn even our mistakes into blessings (see Romans 8:28). And He provided a Savior so that when our failures involve sin, we can repent, allowing us to “learn from [our] experience without being condemned by it.”3

To read the remainder of the article on, press HERE.


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