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We live in a fallen world.

No matter how unbelievers try to paint things, we will not know a temporal utopia, either corporately or personally.

The academic year is drawing to a close for American students, some of whom are preparing for university in the autumn or for graduates looking for a job.

Anyone who has been through those experiences, no matter how long ago, remembers the associated vulnerability and anxiety.

Those going to university might well have received rejection letters from some institutions before getting the prized acceptance envelope. Some might wonder how it was they were not accepted at their first choice. Sometimes, no matter how well we do on tests or interviews, there are certain kinds of student a university looks for. (Sorry about the preposition there.) Some young people will fit in better than others — ideologically, especially.

The same is true of companies interviewing candidates on the ‘milk run’. By all means, prepare to the n-th degree for an interview, but be aware that no matter how well you do, there is always the possibility that — through no fault of yours — someone else might get that prized job.

I was struck by a graphic from Inspiration Boost which enumerated the failures of one of America’s most famous presidents — Abraham Lincoln:

Lincoln's famous failures Inspiration Boost 122-Lincolns-Famous-Failures

One of my readers — Pastor Ashcraft of Mustard Seed Budget — featured the graphic on his site in a post called ‘Pray, pray, pray again’.  He writes:

My heart goes out to atheists, agnostics and struggling Christians whose experience with prayer has been negative. Typically, they gave it a try, and nothing happened. No answer. Just silence.

I wish to gently suggest that in many cases, nothing went wrong. You just need to keep praying. The Bible talks directly and indirectly about persevering in prayer.

It is important to remember that even successful people fail. Some might fail a lot before becoming successful.

Failure’s best mates are Loss, Betrayal and Rejection. Excessive Introspection is also in Failure’s circle of acquaintances.

We can prepare only so much for universities, jobs and — later on — promotions. Some are meant to be ours and some are not.

Some years ago I found the rejection letter I received from a famous American university a few decades before. They were my first choice. I was heartbroken.

When I reread the letter more recently, it turned out to be an occasion of thanksgiving for me. Had they not rejected me, I would not be leading the life I do today — including writing this blog.

I did pray at that moment and thanked God for that failure. It might have made all the difference to me, including finding my treasured and beloved SpouseMouse.

In closing, whilst I would advise every young person to humbly be the best he can be — a ‘world beater’, as the phrase was a few decades ago — we need to be cognisant that not everyone will find our qualities and characteristics useful or admirable.

It doesn’t matter. Something better always lies just around the corner.

So, to borrow Pastor Ashcraft’s phrase —

pray, pray, pray again.

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