April 30, 2023
Summertime Prayer Focus

No Failure Here

“Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed. Every one was fulfilled.” Joshua 21:45

Does God set me up to fail? Sometimes I have felt that way. I was facilitating a group of 5 ladies in a Bible study and in a few months the group shrunk to 2 and at that, they often attend on alternate weeks.  There, the 2 of us are, sitting across from each other, quizzically blinking, while shyly plodding through our questions holding a quiet conversation. 

I fight the thoughts—I must be failing. Someone else would do better. God doesn’t want me hereThen I remember to fight the thoughts with God’s Word. 

When was the last time you read Isaiah 6? It’d been a long time for me. Read it with me. It begins with this beautiful glimpse of heaven. Isaiah’s vision of our God flanked by incredible, flying beings, who won’t stop proclaiming how Holy He is. He’s so holy 4 wings are covering their faces and feet while the last 2 are helping them fly so as not to touch the ground where His robe floods the temple.  Isaiah is left undone before the powerful presence of Holy God. When God asks, “Who will go bring My message to My people”, Isaiah is compelled to answer, “Send me.”  I mean, what else could he say? 

The message he’s commissioned to bring is about what God sees in the heart of Israel and the surrounding nations. He is to warn them of God’s discipline in hopes that they will sincerely come back to Him. God tells Isaiah his message will make their ears heavy and blind their eyes.” Wait. What? After all his work, they won’t hear? When Isaiah asks for how long, the answer is remarkable. “Until the cities lie waste without inhabitants…[until] the Lord removes people far away and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.”  Did I read that right? Did God give Isaiah a 55-year ministry full of sacrifice, like walking around naked for 3 years, begging Israel to go back to God all to end with the nation laying wasted? Isaiah did not net the results he would have liked to. From a human perspective, his numbers were at an all-time low. That was the work God gave him. And he stepped up and did it. It prompts me to stay faithful to where and to whom he has sent me. Stay faithful!

Chapter 49 of the same book describes Jesus’ earthly service You are my servant…in whom I will be glorified. But I said ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; (I feel you, Jesus) yet surely my right is with the Lord…’” Even Jesus expressed frustration from the lack of responses He received. Jesus knew He wasn’t a failure. He knew His work and success wasn’t the numbers. He was right with God. This prompts and convicts me to carry on, to stand firm.

As a Body & Soul® instructor, I spend hours learning Body & Soul® routines, prepping devotionals, 76CD70CD 945C 4F73 B00E AD9721AF25A5marketing classes, caring for students, praying for them and their concerns; only to draw in a few students. I’ve taught class to only one student in a huge gym. This was disheartening. Like my Bible study. It could have caused me to question the success of my class. BUT God says my ways are not His and my thoughts are not His (Isaiah 55:8)  So, my idea of success is probably not His, either. 

What is the scale God uses to determine success? Continue in Isaiah 49 where is says that the light of God’s servant (Jesus) is too big to just be for Israel. It’s meant to shine on all the nations, but to accomplish that, Jesus would be despised. No 500k likes for Jesus. That’s not success. I’m still learning that. Isaiah 50:5 says “The Lord has opened my ear; and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back.” This gives me a clue. Success is my obedience to do what He calls me to, and humbling myself to be dependent on Him, while doing it “…because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.”( Isaiah 50:7)

If Isaiah calculated the number of people who responded to his ministry to determine success, he would have given up. Instead, he focused on obeying God and depending on Him for strength, wisdom, and words.   Remember, like me, there may be one person in your class, who needs to hear a specific word or receive an act of kindness from God, and you are the one delivering it to her/him. That’s God’s success. The success of being His mouthpiece, His hands to someone. Whether it be one or one hundred, you succeeded. Whether you see the effect or not, you succeeded.  In His power, you did what God sent you to do. No failure here.

Trina Young Bowie, MD

Trina YoungTreasuring over 20 years of connection with Body & Soul® Fitness as a student, instructor, operations assist admin, copyright manager, and spiritual impact team, Trina is honored and excited to be a part of what God is doing through Body & Soul® and hopes to support and serve with the love and truth of Jesus. ❤️ She also enjoys taking a sledgehammer to the walls of her house, refinishing furniture, and recently, knitting (Youtube), although none of her 3 children will wear anything she's made in public.