One step forward, two steps backward. Another step forward, and then two more steps backward. Repeat. Somehow the little boy made it to school, although 20 minutes late. His teacher said he’d better have a good explanation for this, and so he explained what had happened. “I would have been at school on time; but as I was walking the icy streets, I kept taking one step forward and two steps backward.”

The boy’s teacher wasn’t impressed, but she played along. “How did you get to school, then?”

“I couldn’t until I turned around to go back home.”

Sometimes we feel like the only thing we can succeed at is failure. We take a step or two in the right direction, only to fall back in our struggle with fear, anxiety, depression, or sin. Is there any hope? Sure. The key is to give our struggles to God. He will help us be victorious in the long run, even if it seems like short-term setbacks will keep us from ever winning. We will fail, but failure isn’t the end of the road for us.

Here are some promises to keep in mind when you fall short of your expectations:

  1. Your steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23).
  2. When you fall, you will not be utterly cast down because God is upholding you with His hand (Psalm 37:24).
  3. The rock of your strength and your refuge is in God, not yourself (Psalm 62:7).
  4. God has begun a work in you which will continue until you get to Heaven — you’re a work in progress (Philippians 1:6).
  5. God’s grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  6. God’s strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

One of the best things you can do is learn to see yourself as God does. He loves you no matter how many steps you take forward or backward. Remember this, and you will keep moving in the right direction, no matter how many times you fall backwards.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder