I remember a story I once read: A man of profound learning was always complaining that God didn’t give him the opportunity of becoming famous. Later, God told him the reason for his failure. It turned out that although a learned man, he didn’t make a deep study of every type of knowledge he had learned. After knowing that, he started to concentrate his attention on practicing the piano diligently. However, well enough as he played, he still failed to become famous. When he asked God again, he was aware that it was not because God had not given him chances, but because he lacked confidence and courage and didn’t grasp the chances. Subsequently, he continued practicing hard for many years. After building confidence, he plucked up his courage to enter a competition. But, he missed the chance of making a name for himself because of the referee’s unfair decision. When he felt downhearted and believed that he was destined not to get famous, God told him that he had acquired an admission to success—a gift given by the setbacks. At last, he became successful.
Actually, behind everyone’s success are a lot of hardships. Nothing will go smoothly in the world. It is just like a song says, “No cross, no crown. No one can attain success easily.” The victorious laurels are made of thorns. The path to success extends from the failure. A common saying goes, “Failure is the mother of success.” Experiencing failure is actually a kind of success. Just as children cannot be afraid of falling over while learning to walk. After falling, they will take their first steps of life. The learned man in the story summed up the causes why he failed after failing every time. And moreover, he realized that for God to put him in this environment aimed to perfect his confidence and courage and temper his willpower. He eventually got success.
Indeed, if a man doesn’t suffer setbacks in life, then he will remain in the same place, and have no progressive attitude or motive force to make an advance. In fact, frustrations are the foundation of the success. It is unavoidable to take knocks for a man lives on. More often than not, the more frustrations we undergo, the greater accomplishments we will have.
When facing disappointments, what will you think of? Will you, like the learned man, have no understanding of God’s intentions and always complain that Heaven is unjust? Have you ever thought: It can be said that God is so thoughtful for the sake of molding us into useful persons? Only God Himself knows what trials can increase our confidence, and make us learn to be stronger and discover our shortcomings and inadequacies. After that, we can make up for them, and constantly strive for progress. Finally, we persevere, face up to our troubles manfully, and overcome setbacks with our efforts. In this way, we will have perseverance, and be the strong ones, and have enough courage to take up the challenge of setbacks. God’s words say, “Failure and falling down is not a bad thing, but a good thing, and being exposed is not a bad thing either. … you must remember this: Being exposed doesn’t mean that you are being condemned. Being exposed is a good thing. It is the best opportunity for you to get to know yourself, to undergo a transition. Otherwise, you will have no opportunity, nor will you have this condition or context for you to be able to reach an understanding of your own true face. If you can come to know the things inside yourself and every aspect of your being, come to know the things deep within you that are hard to understand and difficult to unearth, then this is a good thing. It is the best opportunity for you to mend your ways and become a new man; it is the best opportunity for you to obtain new life” (“If You Wish to Attain the Truth, Then You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You”).
Setbacks and failures are very beneficial for our growth in our spiritual life. God employs all manner of environments to make up for our shortfalls, to increase our confidence, and to temper our will, so that we become stronger and grow and mature soon. Though our flesh undergoes some sufferings, as long as we pray to God more, have a heart of seeking the truth, learn to obey God in different environments, have a true faith in Him, and act in accordance with His will, we can, like the learned man in the story, be built up and perfected in various circumstances painstakingly arranged by God. In the end, we will attain success and God’s approval.