Could be good, could be bad
Photo by: code poet
This article is dedicated to my Dad who has always been there for me. Dad, thanks for your stories. I know I didn’t always appreciate them, but I do now. I am passing them onto my children who I hope will appreciate them and one day pass them on to their children.
November 2006 was a pretty rough time for my family and I. We were having to deal with tremendous personal crisis and at the same time my then 6 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time I felt like the world was caving in around my family and I and I felt helpless to do anything about it. Ever felt like this? It’s during times like these when your faith and family are the foundation that keeps your house from falling to the ground.
My Dad has always been full of stories. He always seems to have a story for almost every situation. To be honest, as a teenager and young adult, I loathed hearing them. But even then I was listening and now I often find myself sharing my Dad’s stories with my children whom I am sure loathe them as well. It would seem these stories, or lessons as I have come to realize they truly are, stuck with me. They tend to pop up in my mind during various situations. I now realize these stories are a way of my Dad teaching me lessons about life, not in a lecturing way, but in a way that I would remember them and not always realize they were in fact a lesson.
During the end of 2006, during one of the most difficult points in my life, my Dad shared with me another story. Of course I am 38 years old now, and this time I listened, I really listened. This time I looked for the true meaning of the story and figured out how I could apply it to my life.
I thought I might share it with you. I probably won’t get the whole thing exactly right, but hopefully I will capture it’s spirit:
A long time ago, A farmer awoke one morning to ploy his fields finding that his one and only horse had ran away. When his neighbors heard, they rushed to his home asking “What are you going to to do and how are you going to plow your fields for the upcoming crop?“. He replied only with: “Could be good, could be bad.”
A few days later, he awoke to the sounds of horses. Walking outside, he not saw not only his horse had returned, but it had brought numerous others back as well. His horse had found some friends and brought them home. The farmer now had multiple horses to ploy the fields instead of one.
The next summer, the farmer’s only barn caught fire and burnt to the ground. His neighbors once again rushed to his farm to view the charred remains, asking him “What will you do? You have no place to store your horses, your hay, nor your equipment.“. The farmer replied calmly, “Could be good, could be bad.”
The few days later, the farmer arose to the sounds of hammers, saws and voices. Walking outside, he found his whole community gathered together, rebuilding his barn. The new barn, far larger and more sturdy than the old one.
A few years later, his son was working in the hay loft of the barn. He slipped and fell to the ground floor, breaking his leg badly. When his neighbors heard, they came to see how his son was doing saying, “How will you harvest the crop this year without your son’s help? What will you do?” The farmer once again calmly replied, “Could be good, could be bad.”
The farmer worked hard that year to harvest the crop, harder then he ever had. He worked from early in the morning to late in the evening while his son lay mending. During that time, the civil war started. All of the older boys in the surrounding country side were called to duty to fight, his son however was not due to his broken leg. Many of those boys never returned home.
There of course many additional sub-stories that continue to drive the message home, but from just these, the message is pretty clear. When life happens, and bad things happen in our lives, we always seem to look at the worst possible options. Did you know that 98% of the things we worry about don’t ever happen? This really makes me wonder why we worry at all. In fact, the Bible says we shouldn’t:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6: 25-34)
When things happen in our lives that that seem bad, the may in fact not be. We need to react more like the wise farmer saying “Could be good, could be bad“. I am a man of faith, and I firmly believe that this is no coincidence in life and that everything, good or bad, happens to us for a reason. God always has a plan, and even though we may not be able to see or understand it, he has a purpose. I also believe that out of every bad situation, good comes out of it. Here are just a few examples in my life:
My parents divorced when I was 15 years old – While terrible for me at the time, it made me stronger. It matured me in a way I can’t really describe and had a very positive effect on my marriage, as I am resolute in making mine work. It worked out better for my parents as well, as they are both happier.
My first job out of college kept me on the road and away from home constantly – I was too young and naive at the time to realize I was being taken advantage of. Newly married, I spent little time with my wife and all the time working. It was hard on her and me. We got to the point were realized if I didn’t make a change my marriage was in jeopardy. I quit, and got a local consulting gig. It made me realize an important lesson early on that I carry with me to work each day. My family is far more important than my job, and no job is worth sacrificing my family for. I seldom travel in my current job, and not more than just a few days. This is intentional. The icing on the cake? I received a significant salary increase just a few months after changing jobs.
My son was diagnosed with diabetes – It’s truly hard to find the good here as it is very hard to watch your child take 4-8 shots a day, never really gain weight, and not be able to eat the sweets other children get to each. There is good however. Through watching him, I have realized how strong of a little boy he truely is. I have also become far more understanding of diabetes and much more empathetic to the disease itself and how serious it really is. Prior to the disease, he wasn’t always the most responsible child. He is very responsible now. He checks his own sugar level, administers his own shots, and just in general has become more responsible in almost everything. He wants to grow up and help children with diabetes.
A little over a year ago, our lives were rocked – I regained control of my finances, started reading my Bible and re-establishing my faith and relationship with God, I started this blog, and gained a whole new understanding of my family and friends and how much they truely mean to me. At the time it was horrible, but now I am not sure if I would change anything.
How are you looking at the things that happen in your life? Are you jumping to the conclusion that the worst possible thing is going to happen? Remember, 98% of the time it won’t. Are you trusting that God has a plan for your life and that He “will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Are you like the farmer saying “Could be good, could be bad“?
Do you always assume the worst will occur in your life? How do you handle all of the things we frequently have to endure as we journey through life? What is your worst personal story and how did things turn out for you? Share your thoughts and story: Add a comment!