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. And here is a similar lecture that Dr. Craig gave at his home church in Atlanta on the same topic. I’m not posting this because I’ve had a catastrophic failure or anything. But I think in this economy, I am seeing a lot of my plans dashed and I am being forced to circle the wagons a little and take fewer risks. I am being forced to aim for smaller goals, and plan for future difficulties. It does bother me that I can’t comfortably take risks to achieve the best goals that I want to achieve. But I have to play the hand I’m dealt, and do what looks doable right now. Some of my friends are having the same problem of having to recalculate what is probable and what is possible.