In every situation in the New Testament, when anyone approaches Jesus in faith with a need or a request, no matter how desperate or seemingly impossible, Jesus always succeeds. When people approached Jesus in faith, I can think of no example where Jesus was not able to heal an illness, provide for a need, or solve a problem.
Only three occasions come to mind where Jesus actually failed in the New Testament.
Because of people’s unbelief, Jesus was not able to perform many miracles in His hometown of Nazareth (Mk. 6:5-6). Because of people’s unbelief, Jesus was not able to persuade and win over the majority of the Pharisees, scribes, and teachers of the Law, and was eventually crucified through their instigation. Because of people’s unbelief, the city of Jerusalem was not able to receive the blessings and protection that God had in mind for it and suffered instead the wrath of the Roman Empire in A.D. 70 as the Roman general Titus destroyed the city.
The only time that God ever “fails,” is when people or nations push Him away. In every situation where there is some measure of faith involved, Jesus is able to save a wedding feast by turning water into wine, heal lepers, restore sight to the blind, raise the dead, feed thousands of people in a desert, calm a storm at sea, and walk harmlessly through a crowd of people intent upon throwing Him off a cliff. In these situations and circumstances, Jesus never fails.
When we combine the fact that God never fails, and the concept as presented in this book that the plans of God for people maneuver them to a point of having to rely solely upon Him, above and beyond their own personal gifts and talents, we get a better picture of the direction the Christian life is supposed to be going.
This is why so many verses, stories, and parables in the Bible talk about placing our faith and trust in God as opposed to self-reliance (Isa. 53:6; Prov. 3:5-6). The idea that God is still in control, even in situations and circumstances that are difficult is sometimes portrayed in the Bible just below the surface of a particular story. Other times, this idea is clearly expressed.
For example, when Abraham receives his calling from God to leave the town of Haran and travel to the promised land of Canaan, it is implied in this story that he must thereby leave behind all of his Haran-based plans, designs, and schemes that are now displaced by the new Canaan-based plan of God for him.
Not only is Abraham heading off into new territory geographically, but also into new territory spiritually. What lies just below the surface in this story is that once Abraham commits to following God into this new unconventional life-script, Abraham becomes completely and totally dependent upon God to bring about the successful completion of God’s promise to him.
Because Abraham does believe God, and because God never fails, God’s promise to Abraham does eventually come true. But not before God is able to fashion Abraham, through a series of well-planned and orchestrated events, into the type of person that can rightly be called the “father of faith.”
1 Peter 4:12 reads “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.”
This verse…and many similar verses in the Bible…expressly say that periods in our Christian lives will have situations and circumstances that are above and beyond our ability to handle. If we can look back upon, or are currently in situations that require us to cry out to God “save me, I perish,” then we are learning lessons of faith and trust in God that match the experiences of people of faith in the Bible who reached similar points of desperation.
We are then being crafted into overcomers who can face any and all of life’s challenges with patient confidence through our personal relationship with a trustworthy and faithful God.