I found this audio on Brian Auten’s Apologetics 315 web site.
And here is my summary.
- the topic of failure is not one that is often discussed by Christians
- failure #1: failure in the Christian life which is the result of sin
- failure #2: when a Christian is defeated while trying to serve God
- the consequences for failure #1 can be worse for the Christian
- the consequences for failure #2 can be worse for the world as whole
- how is it possible for a person to fail when they are obeying God? (#2)
- how can it be that God can call someone to a task then let them fail?
- failure is not persecution – persecution is normal for Christians
- failure is not trials – testing is normal for Christians to grow
- Bill had submitted all the coursework for his second doctoral degree
- but he had to pass a comprehensive oral examination
- he failed to pass the comprehensive exam
- Bill and Jan and his supporters had all prayed for him to pass
- how could God allow this to happen?
Solution to the problem:
- God’s will for us may be that we fail at the things we try in life
- there are things that God may teach us through failure
- Bill learned that human relationships are more important than careers
- we need to realize that “success” in life is not worldly success
- true success is getting to know God well during your life
- and failure may be the best way to get to know God well
- it may even be possible to fail to know God while achieving a lot
- the real measure of a man is loving God and loving your fellow man
- give thanks to God regardless of your circumstances
- try to learn from your failure
- never give up
The ending of Bill’s story:
- Bill spent an entire year preparing for a re-take of his exam
- Bill was awarded his second doctorate “magna cum laude” (with great distinction)
- Bill learned that American students are not well prepared for exams
- the year of studying remedied his inadequate American education
- in retrospect, he is thankful for the failure – he learned more
If you like this, you should pick up Craig’s book “Hard Questions, Real Answers“, which has a chapter on this problem.