When we face losses or challenges in life we are quick to label the situation ‘bad’. Whether in our personal or our vocational lives we need to learn the art of suspending judgment- because a rash pronouncement can:
- prove to be innacurate,
- rob us of peace of mind, and
- blind us to current opportunities.
Consider my version of the “The Man Whose Horse Ran Away” story*:
A farmer owned a beautiful mare that was praised far and wide. One day this beautiful horse disappeared. The people of his village offered sympathy to him for his great misfortune. He said simply, “I will not say so quickly whether it is good or bad”.
A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated him for his good fortune. He said, “I will not say so quickly whether it is good or bad”.
Some time later, the farmer’s only son, while breaking in the stallion, fell off and injured his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at the farmer’s misfortune. He again said, “I will not say so quickly whether it is good or bad”.
Soon thereafter, war broke out and all the young men of the village except the farmer’s injured son were drafted and were killed in battle. The village people were amazed at his good luck. His son was the only young man left alive in the village.
Don’t say so quickly whether what has happened to you is ‘bad’!
I am learning that some of the most ‘negative’ experiences and deepest pains that people have in life can lead them into their greatest life accomplishments- whether this be in the arena of faith, medical advances, business development or innovations in higher education. When we ask ourselves how ‘bad’ experiences may be leveraged for good we begin to see ways that our capacity for greater good has actually been increased!
The most powerful Biblical example of this is Joseph. After being rejected by those closest to him, sold into slavery in a foreign land, lied about, forgotten, and imprisoned we would not blame him for having a sour outlook on life. Clearly his life is ‘bad’. But wait… remarkably, he trusts God through the painful developmental process and in the end, after becoming an administrator in the foreign land, is able to:
- save his family and the Egyptian nation from famine
- see his dreams for his life fulfilled
- enjoy God’s abundant provision in his life
- be reunited with his family
What people in his life meant for harm- God meant for good and for the saving of many lives.
Perhaps the challenges before you are simply setting you up for the greatest achievements of your life!
*Based on the retelling of the story on: http://www.dontfeardiabetes.com/2010/03/the-man-whose-horse-ran-away/