The Perspective from the Pit

In Genesis 37 Joseph found himself in a dry cistern, a pit. Was it his fault that he was in the pit or was it his brothers’ fault? Was it

his pride that got him in the pit or was it his brothers’ jealousy? It really didn’t matter, because no matter whose fault it was, he was

still in the pit. The question for Joseph was; would he learn anything from the experience?

In his book “Failing Forward,” John Maxwell writes, “Your attitude toward failure determines your altitude after failure.” In other

words, if you use the failure as a learning experience, you’ll rise higher than you were before the failure. But if you don’t learn from the

failure, the failure will just take you farther down. Louis Armstrong once quipped, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”


Teachability is an attitude, a mind-set that says, “No matter how much I know, I can learn from this situation.” That kind of

attitude can turn any failure into a learning experience.


In the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown is building a beautiful sand castle at the beach. As he stands back to admire his work,

a huge wave comes up and flattens his sand castle. Looking at the smooth mound of sand that had been his creation just moments

before, he says, “There must be a lesson here, but I don’t know what it is.”


To rise high in life we must learn from our mistakes and failures. Restaurant owner and Chef Wolfgang Puck

says, “I learned more from the one restaurant that didn’t work than from all the ones that were successes.”


Joseph didn’t let the pit keep him down. He learned from the experience and became the best servant he could. He faithfully

served the one who bought him as a slave and was put in charge of his entire household. He faithfully served the one who kept him as a

prisoner and was put in charge of the entire prison. But most importantly, through it all, he faithfully served the One who made him and

was put in charge of a nation.


Paul puts our faithful service in times of trial this way: “… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering

produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured

out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5)


Failure can be a good thing when we face it with the right attitude.