How to Know God’s Good Will in Setbacks

By Xin Jing

In a book titled “Small Fable Great Wisdom,” I saw an inspiring little story: A young man determined to have a good career. However, no matter how hard he worked, he always failed. He couldn’t withstand such a blow. Depressed and hopeless, he wanted to give up.

One day, the young man poured out his miseries to a sage. First, the sage gave a peanut to him and asked him to try to crack the peanut shell between his fingers. He did it, and the shell broke, and the inner nut was exposed. Next, the sage asked him to rub the nut hard. He did that and its skin was removed. Lastly, the sage asked him to rub the nut flesh hard. Although he did it with full force, it wasn’t broken. The sage said to him, “After setbacks and failures, we will be strong, just like the peanut. The more ordeals we undergo, the greater endurance we will have. Finally, we shall succeed.” Hearing this, he suddenly understood.


In real life, faced with setbacks and failures, we are like the young man in the little story. For example, some people, who are fully confident of doing something great, put a lot of time and energy into it but end up in failure, and then get discouraged; some, who set their heart on doing big business, pour a lot of money into it and make a best-laid plan but at last fail on the verge of success, and thus lose faith in life. We Christians also encounter setbacks and failures when walking on the path of following the Lord. We want to be faithful to the Lord. However, our unbelieving family always persecutes us and sometimes we cannot overcome some other difficulties. In addition, we want to preach the gospel and bear more fruits, but if we cannot bring anyone into the church we will lose faith. … In the story, the young man understood the mystery of experiencing setbacks in life from the guidance of the sage. There are God’s intentions behind the setbacks and failures we encounter.

The Bible says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Co 4:17). God’s words say, “When you cannot touch or see it, it is under these circumstances that your faith is required. People’s faith is required for when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required for when you cannot let go of your own notions. … Therefore, only when you have faith and you do not harbor doubts toward God, only when you have true faith in Him no matter what He does will He enlighten and illuminate you in your experiences, and only then will you be able to see His actions. These things are all achieved through faith….” The setbacks and failures in our life are arranged by God to train us and to temper our will, so that we can have endurance, the will to suffer, and unshakable confidence and courage, and so that we can submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement and have faith in Him. When God sees our sincerity, He will help us and lead us to overcome all the difficulties and achieve success in the end. After ordeals, our life will be transformed, and we will become stronger and receive God’s eternal blessing.


Read more on our Spiritual Life page on Inspirational Stories, or click on the related articles below.

Never Lose Faith in God for Setbacks Coming Upon You Doesn’t Mean God Forsaking You

Understanding Why God Tests Us From Job’s and Abraham’s Experiences

Chat With Us!

Frequent disasters occur in the last days. Do you want to know how to get rid of sin and enter the kingdom of God? Please join our online gathering to find the way.

Chat live with us!
Chat with us on Messenger
Bible Reading Made Easy App: Read the Bible Anytime and Walk With the Lord
Free app available for iOS and Android