We can learn a great lesson in life by looking at the history of accidental discoveries. Here are some examples of how what seemed like failures can be blessings:
Penicillin – Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin when he left some bacteria-covered petri dishes in his lab. Weeks later, he noticed that some were covered with mold and free of bacteria, while dishes with no mold were still loaded with bacteria. He accidentally discovered the first antibiotic.
Stainless Steel – Harry Brearley was experimenting with a metal alloy that could withstand friction inside a rifle barrel. Later he noticed that one of the alloys he had thrown away remained shiny while others had rusted. He accidentally discovered the formula for stainless steel.
Chocolate Chip Cookies – Ruth Wakefield was making cookies when she ran out of baker’s chocolate. As a substitute, she used sweetened chocolate broken into small pieces, which she assumed would melt. The chocolate pieces did not melt, but she accidentally invented the world’s most popular cookie – chocolate chip.
Many times in life, we try something and think we failed. But our view is limited, so we don’t see the good in what we do. God’s vision is very different from ours. God tells us that what we think are failures can be blessings. Isaiah 55:8-9 says it well: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts..”
We can’t understand how failures can be blessings and good things can come from pain and suffering. We can’t see the long-term effects of things we ask for or the things we do. The Does God Exist? ministry has been blessed through things we thought at the time were disasters. Looking back at the past 50 years, I can see how failures can be blessings, and incredible good came from what I thought were accidents. Don’t assume that an “unanswered” prayer or a bad experience was a catastrophe. Some of the great successes in life have been born in failure.
— John N. Clayton © 2023
Reference: Focus on the Family for June/July 2023, page 14.