What God Thinks When We Fail: Finding Grace and True Success, By Steven C. Roy

What God Thinks When We Fail

Finding Grace and True Success

by Steven C. Roy

What God Thinks When We Fail
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: September 28, 2011
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3939
  • ISBN: 9780830839391

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What does God think of us when we fail?

Does he think

  • You're a loser.
  • There's no hope for you.
  • What a wimp!
  • You're good for nothing!

Or does he think something very different?

If you've ever lost a job or a relationship, let your friends down, seen your finances collapse, found your ministry crumbling or failed to meet your own ethical standards, you might wonder if recovery is possible. Perhaps you've wondered if you can ever repair the damage done to others, to yourself and to your relationship with God.

Steve Roy has good news for you. He had to face his own failures, but his failures also drove him deep into what God thinks about us and success, especially in Christian ministry. He searched deeply in Scripture and listened carefully to the stories of others. He found that God's view of success is very different from ours. And that a biblically grounded view of success and failure challenges our preconceived notions but leads to hopeful renewal that goes beyond what we often ask or think.

"Steven Roy's comprehensive identification and assessment of types, causes and results of failure paints a clear and accurate landscape of reality, in which we can find our own selves. The pastoral emphasis on God's grace in Jesus leads to the hope of real and lasting change as well as humble realism about ongoing failure and the need for continued grace."

Fred Bailey, Great Lakes East Regional Director, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

"I freely, though painfully, admit that fear of failure has shaped far too much of the way that I think and act. As a pastor, I also regularly counsel with folks staring what they perceive as failure in the face and being overcome by it. Personally and professionally, I consider Dr. Roy's insights a welcome gift that expose the core lies that too often shackle me and those I serve, and drive us back to the 'audience of one' whose view of us is the only one that truly matters."

Rev. Jeff Chadwick, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Rome, GA

"What does it mean to say that 'Steve Roy wrote the best book on failure!' Yet that is what I find myself saying and recommending to others. It's an excellent guide to failure. All of us know failure, but Roy's book opens us up to a deeper understanding of how failure might be an important life-giving moment of new beginnings. It's in our failures that the good news is seen in all its flying colors."

Rev. Laura S. Truax, senior pastor, LaSalle Street Church

"Steve knows failure, up close and very personal. Really hearing the words, 'you are sicker than you think,' changed his life. Rather than reacting with denial, silence or renewed attempts to make it, he responded with wisdom, seeking to understand how God defines failure and success and how He graces us to reach that goal. This is theology at its best. He grapples with success and failure biblically, discovering truths of grace. No one will work through this excellent study without being strengthened for struggles with inevitable failure in partnership with the Lord of compassion and grace."

Gerry Breshears, professor of theology, Western Seminary, and coauthor of Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe

"Bringing together deep pastoral and theological wisdom, Roy exposes the destructive power of the American narrative of success and failure, and points us to the pathway of grace and 'true success.' A must-read for all who are engaged in the ministry of the gospel!"

Peter T. Cha, associate professor of pastoral theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"One of the greatest needs of the church is the ability to define success and failure from God's perspective. Steve Roy has provided much-needed help in this book to equip Christians with the discernment to evaluate our lives and ministries with a biblical lens rather than a cultural one. Without trivializing sin, or minimizing the sting of failure, Steve helps us to see all of our lives through the redemptive power of the gospel."

Erik Thoennes, professor of biblical studies and theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"For those on their way in their faith journey Steve's book is a succinct reminder and recitation of the limitless resources available to all of us as we cope with life's adversities. To those who have not yet begun their faith journey, it is a practical package of surprising support probably unknown to most."

Malcolm N. Briggs, CEO and chairman, Andesa Strategies, Inc.

"Embedded in many cultures are the beliefs that we get what we deserve and if we do the right things and try hard enough, we will not fail. What God Thinks When We Fail provides a tender and hopeful countercultural reminder that for the Christian, God is the definer of our success, and that Scripture is rife with human failings redeemed through grace. Roy persuades us to ask: How might we dare to love and serve others if we lived as beloved children of God, free from fear of failure?"

Susan Greener, Ph.D., associate professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College

"Roy offers a Christian understanding of failure and success, and provides resources for correction, healing, and restoration for those facing failure."

CBA Retailers + Resources, November 2011



1. A Violinist and a Pastor
2. In Whose Eyes?
3. Success in the Eyes of God
4. Experiencing Failure
5. Grappling with Failure Theologically
6. More Truths of Grace
7. Responding to Failure
8. Helping Others

Scripture Index


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Steven C. Roy

Steven C. Roy (PhD, systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of pastoral theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has also taught systematic theology, historical theology, and ethics. Prior to coming to Trinity, he was a pastor for twelve years and taught in Cameroon, West Africa. He is author of "God as Omnicompetent Responder? Questions about the Grounds of Eschatological Confidence in Open Theism" in Looking to the Future, edited by David W. Baker.