failure revisited

I read these words of Paul this morning and was reminded of my entry on failure a few days ago:

We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead... (2 Cor 1.8-9)

That seems to me to be the main value of the experience of failure, "to make us rely not on ourselves but on God." Which is, I believe, the meaning of faith, the central goal of the spiritual life. And not just relying on a God that can at-the-last-minute save us from failure or suffering or death, but relying on God "who raises the dead," whose purposes for us cannot be frustrated even when our failure is total, when we have reached our utter end.

Realizing both the value of failure and how God is not limited by our failures (no matter how bad, deserved or undeserved), I think I may be more able to face the threats of failure in my own life. Not an easy thing for me.