Success constitutes a far more drastic disciplining, and produces many more opportunities to forget God and reality than do failure and neglect. Self-pity, a sense of martyrdom, and resignation are potent and effective ways of handling one’s failure. But to rise upon the crest of the wave, to be accorded public recognition, and to seem to have achieved the earthly goal are far more difficult factors to face.
Not only had He to demonstrate the power to endure success, but He had also to demonstrate the power to face disaster, balancing the two against each other and seeing in both of them simply opportunities for divine expression and fields for the demonstration of detachment – that outstanding characteristic of the man who has been born again, purified and transfigured. To these tests was added the one which He had before encountered in the desert, the test of utter loneliness.