404 On Failure and Hope

On Failure and Hope

There’s a video on YouTube of a dad recording a little boy after riding his bike for the first time. The boy is so excited he can barely get his words out to describe how he feels. His dad encourages him to share some wisdom with others and the boy proceeds to give one of the most inspiring speeches I’ve ever heard.

I don’t have any background on the video but I have a feeling that this boy had been at it for a long time. Why else would he be so excited? His perseverance finally paid off and he was a success. His dad was excited as well and was the one encouraging him to share with others. I’m sure he was there the whole time while his son continued to fall off the bike and he helped him get back on it.

Watching the result of his victory made me ask myself a question.

Does God want us to fail?

It might sound sadistic but I believe He does. Because when we fail, we have a Father that will pick us up and encourage us the whole way. His encouragement will remove the crippling power of fear in our lives.

Failure with God’s encouragement leads to perseverance, which leads to character, which leads to hope. And Romans 5:5 tells us that hope does not put us to shame.

It’s an intentional progression. The passage in Romans doesn’t say that suffering (failure) leads to hope. It leads to perseverance. You can’t jump to the end because you’ll find yourself trying to hope. And we all know, “there is no try“.

We don’t have to fear failure because it is not our identity. It is simply a step in a progression of hope. The progression comes full circle when after you have received hope, you are compelled to use it to encourage others.

Watch the video of the little boy and be inspired.

Then go do something that seems impossible.


  1. I once felt God ask me “would you be a failure for me?” – during a time that I was attempting to figure out what to do in a given situation. My mind had defined “success” and “failure” in one way – but I now see that God had defined it totally different. I had to fail myself and my own definitions of what success looked like in order to be a success in Christ 🙂
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  2. Francesca says:

    There are no failures, only lessons- motivation to teach us about faith, gratitude. We are all perfect creations of God, just human, learning how to keep the faith each and every day despite what comes our way and even if we don’t always make the best decision. God wants us to succeed and gives us those challenges in order to teach us that above all, his love and our faith will always carry us though anything.

  3. LOVE this! Thanks for posting – the video is so fun and reminds me of what we should all have – that child-like faith in one who has the answers to the many questions that we do not – who is in charge and loves us like no other.
    Cindy Holman recently posted..Authentic Me!

  4. If we all could have childlike faith we could do some of the greatest things mankind has ever seen! I Enjoyed the video very much. It took me back to when I taught my daughters how to ride their bikes, and the first time they were able to pedal on their own without needing my assitance. It was awesome seeing their faces light up as they got better at it, and I was proud and humbled that I was able to teach them. Also, when I taught my teenage daugther how to drive a car, and how proud I felt when she passed her road test. I was proud that she accomplished it, and I had a part in it.
    Juan Cruz Jr recently posted..Life Journal: Who is my neighbor?

    • There’s a little more at stake when you’re learning to drive a car, huh? 🙂 But higher stakes should never cause us to be idle with fear.

      As a friend of mine says “No risk it, no biscuit!”

  5. I love it! My son finally learned to ride his bike a few months ago. It was a huge fear for him. We he finally did it, my husband was running along side of him and my son kept saying, “I’m doing it Dad! I can’t believe I’m doing it!” Still makes me smile every time I think about it.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about failure. Failure is often the best catalyst for growth.
    Eileen recently posted..Let The Party Last All Night!

    • That’s awesome, Eileen! I can’t wait for to teach my little boy or girl to ride a bike. There’s so much about failure that I want them to learn to face bravely. I don’t want them to struggle with it the same way I have.

  6. Love this!! I’ve learned so much that failure is redirection and does not define our worth. So good!
    tracee recently posted..“Celebrate” #OneWord365

  7. I love that video!
    Jason Vana recently posted..The Year of Favor

  8. Tony, I certainly agree with you that God allows failure in our lives. Let me throw a question at you…how would you respond to the person who knows failure but doesn’t get the hope that you talk about? The person who keeps falling off the bike time and time again? Eventually they stop getting back up on the bike no matter how much their father encourages them because they’re tired of always failing.
    Jason recently posted..Plan for self development time

    • In the context of the passage in Romans, I would ask if they are going through the progression. Failure comes, and they persevere through it but is character being formed? I think that’s the key to be able to reach the hope that will not disappoint.

  9. Failure is a part of life and success that we are afraid to talk about and share. If it was not for all my failures I would not be the man I am today – they have shaped me much more that any of the success that I have in life. When you learn how to fail in to the arms of God then you will know how to truly succeed.

    Thanks for sharing this and the video!
    Jim F recently posted..Positive and the Best to Enjoy life

  10. Amazing video. I wanna ride my bike over the Grand Canyon now. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I think failure is hard for us to accept because we were made for perfection. Just like we will never get used to death. We were made for eternity. Failure to me speaks of a missing “perfection”. Something that should be mine, ours but its not…yet, but it will be. For we will be like Him and we will see Him just as He is.

    Also, it speaks of someone who sees us through our failures and encourages us to hope and persevere, because one day, it will be made perfect (complete). That same joy that was in that boy, will be our joy… hundred-fold.
    Moe recently posted..On Following

  12. I think this is one of your best posts, Tony!

    “We don’t have to fear failure because it is not our identity. It is simply a step in a progression of hope. The progression comes full circle when after you have received hope, you are compelled to use it to encourage others.”

    I agree with you; I do believe that God wants us to fail. That can be an offensive message when we first hear it, but we have to realize that God’s not scared of our failure like we are. He knows how powerful and strong He is. He knows that no matter how far we fall or how rocky the bottom is that we hit…He can redeem, restore, and love us. He already knows the end of the story; “failures” and all. The question is…if God wants us to fail, then is there really such a thing as failing when it comes to following His will? Maybe letting ourselves fail is also a part of following His will and plan for our lives.

    It’s what we do with that failure that really matters; not that we let it happen.

    I love you, Tony J!! You’re my favorite. 🙂
    Katie Alicea recently posted..Let Me See…

    • I had the theme of redemption in my head as I wrote this. I think I might elaborate more in another post. It ended up not fitting in to where this took me.

      Redemption is so much sweeter than perfection. I love you too!

  13. One of the many excuses (but honestly the main one) I use in my attempt to avoid possible failure is asking the question, “I can do this…but is it God’s Will?” :o)

    Man, this question is almost like a cancer for me. I can’t tell you how many times I have quit on things because I convinced myself that doing so might not be God’s Will for my life. I’ve come to realize that by not attempting anything (and risking failure) in my past, I was keeping a foundation of sand to build my life on. I suppose in reality this old way of living was a failure in itself, but it’s a hollow failure for me because I was playing it safe instead of having faith that God can see me through anything. This type of failure is something I’m trying to avoid now.

    Thanks bro

    • Oh man, I know that question all too well. I’ve used it many times to justify inaction.

      We’re a lot a like, J. I love that we’re learning the same lessons and moving forward in the same direction too!

  14. Let us come boldly to the throne of Grace…for we have a high priest who is able to simpithize with us…

    why would paul write this?…

    because we fail…

    But there is a hope…

    Arny recently posted..An Analogous Guest: Jon Stolpe’s “I Love You Man!”

  15. Cool video Tony. i suspect he heard those things from his father as he struggled to learn to ride. But that last part: I think it took his dad by surprise. Rock n roll! Failure is to be expected from time to time whenever anything new is tested. It is better to have tried and failed, than to have never tried at all. (i know that is not my quote but it is still a good one).
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..INTERRUPTIONS

    • Thumbs up for rock & roll!

      This makes me think of the “better to have loved and lost…” quote to. Failing in relationships is another thing that causes fear to so many. That’s an area I want to face bravely as well!

  16. I don’t know how the dad kept from tearing up. I know if Ethan would have been that excited about anything I would have cried. But then again, I cry about everything.
    Michael Perkins recently posted..Starting Over “A Manifesto On Being Yourself”

  17. I wouldn’t have learned half of what I know if it hadn’t been for failing. However, my failures were mostly unintentional, either things I shouldn’t have been doing in the first place or because I had no motivation in continuing to pursue a certain thing. I wonder what lessons could be learned if I intentionally failed. Failing on purpose so that I could learn to fully trust God and experience His love for me, and grow stronger through the process.

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