Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Good Luck or Bad Luck?

We are just weeks away from Summer Solstice… my planner keeps reminding me as I schedule work appointments for that date and beyond. As I drive away from work on a late night, there is still dusky light at 9 pm. From now until early October, the sun will reign in St. Louis skies.

It’s an open-window evening. Storms have chased all the heaviness from the air and the evening breeze is cool and invigorating. It’s a rarity in June, and will be utterly abnormal come August. I love open windows. The air-conditioner never really feels fresh like outdoor breezes. The neighbor’s dog is baying as people stream out from the jazz festival in the nearby park. Someone’s cigarette smoke is drifting in along with a girl’s shrieky laughter from the sidewalk below, and I toy with being annoyed before I set it aside and focus on responding to emails.

I was talking with a friend yesterday, about those unanswered prayers that turn out to be a blessing in disguise. We just don’t know the outcomes of things, so how can we anticipate what will be best for us? And it seems, in retrospect, that learning to rely on God in the “whatever” is more important than the outcomes that seem so pressing. (It almost never seems so in the moment...But if we truly trust He will provide for our NEEDS... and cares deeply about us, his children...)

It reminds me of a folk-tale (Chinese) that I loved growing up.

The Chinese farmer
There is a story of an old farmer who had only one, old horse for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills. All the farmer's neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, 'Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?'
A week later the horse returned--this time bringing with her two beautiful, wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer's good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, 'Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?'
Then, when the farmer's son attempted to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, 'Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?'
Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg they let him off. Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other. Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing...

Our confidence is not in our circumstances, but in the Lord, who can bring blessing from disaster!