All of us are on a quest. We might not think of our lives as quests, but they are. A quest is defined as a search for something. People spend their lives searching for wealth, friends, validation, or even a spiritual awakening. In fact, the Bible commands Christians to search for Christ. And beyond a major lifelong search, we seek much more—anything from a degree or a career, to a new pair of shoes. Our life-quest is full of these smaller side-quests, filling our lives with a million searches that don’t always end the way we plan.

    Inevitably, we won’t always find what we’re looking for. Plans will change. Life will take unexpected turns. Because we are not in control of every aspect of our lives, we are subject to these inconveniences. Unfortunately, it may mean that we “fail” our quests. We search and search, laboring for what seems like forever, and we still don’t acquire our goal. But is that really failure? I don’t think so.

    Think about Christopher Columbus. We all know he “sailed the ocean blue” in 1492, but we might not realize how his quest may align with our own. With the Spanish monarch’s blessing, he embarked on a quest for a western passage to Asia. He was in it for adventure, no doubt, but a successful search would’ve made him a hero of the fifteenth century. As we well know, Columbus did not find a western passage to Asia. Instead, he found land previously undiscovered. And although he died believing he had landed in Asia, his accidental discovery was the beginning of American history.

    So, was Columbus’s quest a failure? You could look at it that way. He didn’t find what he was searching for. But what he found has proven more influential than he or any of his contemporaries could’ve dreamed. While he did fail to find what he thought was the answer, he found something greater.

    Like Columbus, we set out in our quests hoping for a certain outcome. We think we know what we need, so we search for it. When we don’t achieve that certain end, we may think we have failed. But perhaps we have found something better—something we never could’ve imagined. You may be on the quest for an A in a class but end with a C and invaluable lessons. Or you may search for a relationship, only to find yourself single with incredible opportunities.

    Our lives are quests. We are all searching. We do not always find what we’re searching for, but that doesn’t mean we’ve failed. Maybe we just didn’t know what we meant to be looking for.