Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Way we Learn . . .


Sorry I've been out of the loop . . . I've been up to *here* in real estate issues: trying to keep my house picked up for showings, trying to find a condo for my son, trying to de-clutter and watching hours of HGTV to see how the experts do it.

But enough of that. Had a thought I wanted to share.

When you study theology, a great deal of emphasis is given to one's personal theodicy--how one validates God's inherent goodness in the face of evil and suffering. I've had mine in place for a while now (I see life as a boot camp, and God allows us to go through trials in order to strengthen us for the work ahead), but I think I've just discovered a sort of scientific proof for it.

The other day I read about the results of a study. Researchers took two groups of students and gave them books to study. Then they took the books away from the first group, and tested them on the material. As you might expect, many of the students missed many of the answers.

The second group was allowed to use the books when they took the exam--I suppose it was like an open book test. Failure was not an option, because they could look up the answers they needed.

Then the researchers took the books away from BOTH groups and retested them. Which group did better?

Ah, you know the answer already: the group that had been allowed to fail. They learned from their mistakes, whereas the second group didn't.

This is how we learn, and I'm convinced it's why God allows us to fail (sometimes spectacularly) and to experience the pain of loss. Would David have valued mercy and forgiveness quite as much if he hadn't committed the sins of murder and adultery? Would Peter have been as brave and faithful if he hadn't denied the Lord three times?

Think about this the next time you fail . . . and know that you've learned something you'll not soon forget. And you might want to add this sliver of understanding to your own personal theodicy. :-)

~~Angie

7 comments:

Mocha with Linda said...

I've found that true in my own life.

Happy New Year, Angie!

Leslie said...

Here's a giggle.

Yesterday I ordered a disaster preparedness book (I've got this feeling).... and got home to find my electricity off! *sigh* - on the "job" training -no fun.

Kay Day said...

I look at this life like a spa. In my opinion scrubs, body wraps, waxing, etc, are pretty uncomfortable. But they make us pretty.
God gives His bride a nice long, painful beautification period before the wedding.

I'm expecting 2010 to be a year I get a good handle on failure. Not easy for us perfectionist types.

Sara E. James said...

Thanks, Angie. This was timely for me.

Anonymous said...

As one of God's children who is addicted to logic, I LOVE this! It totally makes sense, and now that I have a lot of influence over my younger granddaughter, I will find a way to put it to use for her spiritual and physical growth! Thanks, Angie. Happy New Year! Clyde

Ane Mulligan said...

The older I get I have the advantage of 20/20 hindsight. I see where God has allowed me to go, how He has protected me and how He has grown me through it all. Hindsight is a wonderful faith-builder. :)

Lisa said...

Along with that thought, I've been thinking lately about character. It seems to me that character is best formed in times of discomfort, NOT comfort. At the very least, a person's true character is exposed when in discomfort. God IS good, but is His great concern our comfort or our character? Just some of my thoughts (I DO think on occasion ;)