An interested medic, straying into the world of science, was frustrated and upset by the fact that his experiments failed to support the basis of his thesis. Almost tearfully he thought “ if these results cannot support my theory, bang goes my Ph.D.”.
However, he had the self-effacement to swallow his pride and found a sympathetic scientist with whom he could share his anxiety. Encouraging him to take a different approach and without giving the answer, his confidante gave a hint that would make the medic reconsider his methodology and, hopefully, learn from a different way of thinking through his problems. Not intending it to be an insult he prompted that he should “reconsider the chemicals you are using and take your results with a pinch of salt”.
Several days later, the medic returned without a positive response to his dilemma. This time, the scientist was prepared to put him out of his misery and informed himthat one of the liquids in which he was diluting some crystals required the addition of some simple salt! Repeating the experiment now took him in a different but correct direction.
In life, we often have high expectations regarding the outcome of a cry for help: possibly through a prayer or private reflection. When the desired response is not forthcoming it is often interpreted as a useless means of solving a problem.
With the above anecdote in mind, the answer came through talking to an individual the medic had no intention of approaching at the risk of exposing what he saw as inadequacy. Although the answer didn’t come through a flash of personal inspiration he did not factor in his unexpected conversation. Was this happenstance or the ‘answer to his prayer’?
There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes.
The same principle can be applied to our faith where “God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.”