Sermon quotes on experience

Ansel Adams

In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.

James H. Aughey

This is one of the sad conditions of life, that experience is not transmissible. No man will learn from the suffering of another; he must suffer himself.

Ernest Becker

Why does man accept to live a trivial life? Because of the danger of a full horizon of experience, of course.

The Denial of Death, Free Press.

Leonardo da Vinci

Wisdom is the daughter of experience.

Emily Dickinson

I stepped from Plank to Plank

So slow and cautiously

The Stars about my Head I felt,

About my Feet the Sea.


I knew not but the next

Would be my final inch —

This gave me that precarious Gait

Some call Experience.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.

Robert Frost

How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?

John Keats

Nothing ever becomes real till experienced – even a proverb is no proverb until your life has illustrated it.

Helen Keller

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.

Helen Keller

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Timothy Keller

How you experience your present is completely shaped by what you believe your ultimate future to be.

Thomas a Kempis

That learning which thou gettest by thy own observation and experience, is far beyond that which thou gettest by precept; as the knowledge of a traveler exceeds that which is got by reading.

C.S. Lewis

We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.

A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis

Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.

John C. Maxwell

Experience isn’t the best teacher—evaluated experience is.

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, Center Street.

T.A. McMahon

For the believer in Jesus, every trial of suffering is an opportunity to grow in the faith, to grow in our relationship with the Lord, and to see Him work in our lives in a uniquely personal way that demonstrates His compassion, His comfort, His tender mercies, His loving kindnesses, His grace, and His endless love. Only God knows what each of us needs to experience and learn in order to be “conformed to the image of his Son”.


Good judgment comes from experience, and experience – well, that comes from poor judgment.

Randy Pausch

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.

The Last Lecture

Auguste Rodin

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.

Richard Rohr

We live a long time in order to become lovers. God is like a good parent, refusing to do our homework for us. We must learn through trial and error. We have to do our homework ourselves, the homework of suffering, desiring, winning and losing, hundreds of times.

Radical Grace: Daily Meditations

Sadhu Sundar Singh

During an earthquake it sometimes happens that fresh springs break out in dry places which water and quicken the land so that plants can grow. In the same way the shattering experiences of suffering can cause the living water to well up in a human heart.

Bram Stoker

“We learn from failure, not from success!”


Erin M. Straza

It takes fresh experiences, surroundings, and inputs for us to see familiar shadows in a new light.

Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom From Habits That Bind You, InterVarsity Press.

Chuck Swindoll

The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind-jump in.

Jules Verne

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”

A Journey to the Center of the Earth

T.S. Eliot

We had the experiences but missed the meaning.

“The Dry Salvages,” in The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909–1950 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971), 133.

Source Unknown

If you can’t get out of it, get into it.

Oswald Chambers

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands.

Frank Herbert

The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.

Dune (New York: Penguin, 2019), 38.

Dag Hammarskjöld

We cannot afford to forget any experience, not even the most painful.


No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

Gregory A. Boyd

Information alone never leads to transformation. Rather, it is what we experience as real on the inside that transforms us. That is all about the use of the imagination.

Interview by Skye Jethani, 7 November 2007.

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