Could be good, could be bad

By glblguy

barn at sunrise
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!


25 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Could be good, could be bad”

  1. Pete Says:

    wow, this is a powerful post – thanks for putting this up. Do you mind if i post about it and put up a link to it?

    It’s so funny that you posted this – this past week in bible study we were talking about this exact subject, how sometimes God allows us to go through storms. Sometimes they’re “storms of correction” and sometimes they’re “storms of perfection”. Whichever they may be, we need to remember to keep our focus where it should be – on Jesus. Just like when Peter walked on the water – when he took his focus off Jesus, he faltered and began to sink. But he knew enough to call out to Jesus – “save me”. When we do that – he’ll always be there to grab our hand and pull us out.

    28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

  2. glblguy Says:

    @Pete – Sure, you’re always welcome to post about my articles, and would never tell you not to link to me :-) Link all you want ;-)

    Thanks for the great comment. There is a song I wrote about that is relevant to “storms” by Scott Krippanye.

    Look forward to reading your article.

  3. Pete Says:

    post is up.

    Storms

    i figured you’d be ok with the linking bit.. :)

    I’ve heard that song on our local radio station quite a bit – thanks for reminding me of it, and of course, another great post.

  4. Lynnae @ beingfrugal.net Says:

    Worst personal story: My husband and I had trouble getting pregnant. Took us 18 months and fertility drugs for our daughter. We had been trying for 2 years with lots of nasty fertility drugs for child #2 when I got pregnant, but then miscarried. To say I was angry at God is an understatement.

    In the end, though, looking back, I’m honestly glad for the experience. I learned that God could steer me through a situation I never thought I could handle, that He still loves me even when I’m angry at Him, and if we had had that baby, we wouldn’t have our son. And I can’t imagine life without Sam.

    I think it’s largely because of that experience that I’m able to look at challenges I face today as “could be good, could be bad”. Romans 8:28 has certainly taken on a deeper meaning to me.

  5. Dan Says:

    The worst thing ever to happen to me is my divorce. Long story short, God used it to bring me closer to Him, and since then I’ve become a better husband (to my second wife), father, servant, citizen, son, brother, and man.

    Joseph too learned to see things in God’s perspective. The world was totally bent on destroying him, from his brothers, to his boss (master’s wife, in this case), to his “friend” in jail who forgot his kindness. It was only years later that Joseph could say “You meant it for evil, God meant it for good.”

    Every day I pray for the total commitment to Him required for such a statement.

    God bless,
    Dan

  6. fathersez Says:

    I agree with Lynnae. We don’t know the “big picture” God has painted out for us, when we go through some rough patches.

    When I hit a rough patch, I always tell myself that there is a reason for this, and that everything will come out better.

    Thanks for this motivating post.

  7. KMunoz Says:

    This was a very inspirational post. It’s sometimes hard to see, but everything really does happen for a reason, and at the end of any ordeal you undoubtedly will be made stronger.

  8. plonkee Says:

    It is a pity that we can’t learn all the things we need to without the bad stuff. But that, I guess, is just the way it works. I always think that nothing is really that bad, I mean it’s rarely the end of the world – and if it is literally the end of the world, then there are more important things to worry about.

  9. Jeff Says:

    As a man of faith I’m sure the following verse will ring true in your life… “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Rom 8:28 For God alone can take our ashes and make something beautiful. He has done so many times in my own life.

  10. glblguy Says:

    Thanks everyone, good stories and comments. Thanks for sharing, and glad you enjoyed the article.

    @Jeff – Romans, my favorite book of the Bible and by my favorite apostle. I love to read God’s word through Paul and his style.

  11. WJ Says:

    Great post!! It is so easy to focus on the negative in these type situations. In the King James version, Philippians 4:6 says “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

    The NIV translation:”Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

    You are correct in saying that worrying does not change anything. I also like what Charles Swindoll said about attitude ” I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

    We can not always control what happens to us…but we can control how we react.

  12. Joel Says:

    wow. now that i have my computer back from the doctors (as i mentioned to you in eamil) i get to come back and read this.

    How odd some of your posts are to me. I lost my father back in October of ’03 due in part to diabetes. we were never that close sadly but after becoming a father I think I now realize that he must have cared. How could anyone not, right?

    I personally have not been diagnosed with any of my father (or grandfathers for that matter) ailments but its funny that reading this post all I was thinking about is how hard it would be to find that my defective genes had managed to pass on down to my daughter Natalie.

    All the best in dealing with this

    Joel

  13. Deamiter Says:

    Wow, I too really enjoyed this post! I’m not sure where you are in dealing with your son’s diabetes, but as my wife is diabetic (and was very poorly controlled due to some severe depression until just a few years ago) I certainly can relate! If you’re ever interested in swapping stories or anything, just send me an email.

  14. jblee Says:

    A few months ago, my mother was diagnosed with an unidentified mass in her urinary bladder. Fortunately, there were no stones found, only a blood clot.

    But that experience made me realize how much we care for her. It was the first time that a member in our family was diagnose with such a condition. My sisters were crying, my dad was depressed. A lot of things were going through my mind, “What will happen? Is there really a mass? Is it curable? How dangerous is it?” etc. Until one time, I just told myself “STOP!”. There’s really nothing I can do for her, except giving her faith and showing her how important she is to us.

    Sometimes, painful events lets us realize how someone or something is important in our life.

  15. MMJ Says:

    Great story glblguy. This really hits home. We have been going through quite a bit with our youngest daughter. We are still looking for a diagnosis, but our faith keeps us strong. If it were not for our nightly prayers as a family, we would be having a tougher time. Also, I believe that our older daughter is growing stronger spiritually. She amazes us with her understanding and prayers she offers at home and school.

    Thanks for some more inspiration.

  16. Ron@TheWisdomJournal Says:

    Great post. And I love the story of the farmer.

    It can be almost impossible to understand why things happen, especially the bad things. I’m reminded of the word “strategy” which comes from Greek (I think) and it means “The General’s View.” In olden times battles were fought on the plains with the generals up on the surrounding hills. A general might see that his left flank had an opportunity to surround the enemy and would allocate soldiers to that area, moving them from another area. Of course, if you’re one of the ones NOT moved, you’d be screaming, “Why is he doing this to us? We need MORE help, not less!” But the soldiers don’t have The General’s viewpoint.

  17. glblguy Says:

    Thanks again everyone. Appreciate all the compliments and I love reading your stories as well.

    @Deamiter – Thanks, just might take you up on that. He’s actually doing very well. He’s a tough little guy. We always worry about it, but he’s doing really great. Just pray they find a cure someday soon.

  18. Patrick Says:

    Very powerful story about what is really important and how to handle those events. We don’t know the end plan for us; but our faith will take us through everything. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Jeff Says:

    A few things hit home with me about this post:
    1. As everyone else has said, very inspirational. Thanks.
    2. You quoted my favorite verse “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I latched on to that verse many years ago, when I was still in early teens, and can say the promise of that passage has been extremely important in my approach to adversity – and I haven’t been disappointed yet.
    3. My wife was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 12. She has many stories of how it has positively shaped her life (as well as plenty of stories of frustration). What I find interesting is how she has positively influenced others. She has been able to be supportive of others who have diabetes (and some other diseases) in ways that most others can’t, because she’s been – and continues to go – through it. She’s also probably saving my life (or at least my limbs). I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes in the last few years. She’s been watching my food intake and trying to keep me healthy (despite myself), which was incredibly helpful – if thoroughly annoying – especially when I was newly diagnosed and trying to break the habits of buying fried chicken and ice cream on every shopping trip.
    4. You could also look at this as an opportunity to strengthen your marriage. Our home fellowship group is currently going through a book called “Sacred Marriage” and the latest chapter is on growth through suffering, so that was on my mind while I was reading this post.

    I’m sorry your son (and your family, really… this affects all of your lives) has to go through this. It’s a burden I don’t wish on anyone. But as you say, trust in God, do not worry, and know that His will is being worked through you.

    And for a little bit of hope with the disease itself – you may already know this, but there was a significant breakthrough in understanding how Type I works a while ago that significantly improves the chances of a cure being found “soon”.

  20. Smith31 Says:

    First off let me say, thank you so much for sharing such a personal story with all of us. Truly amazing, the strength your family has shown is inspiration for all. I was forwarded this link by a friend that is going through a rough time in life, and her father sent it to her. The reach your story has to change peoples lives or at least bring a little light to there day is something to cherish. I usually do not like to follow a great story with one of my own, but this story really brought something out I had never had thought of before. Growing up, my father was very abusive verbally and physically towards me, he would make sure to take all day to day frustrations out on me. Although this is a horrible way to be brought up, one thing I realized from your story was the good. He would always hit and push me if I ever laid a hand on my older sisters (out of sibling frustration) and although at the time I hated him for it, once I became a grown man I realized something. Because of his actions no matter how frustrated I am in a relationship, I can never raise my voice to the woman I am with. I also now for a fact I could never lift a hand to her. So yes my childhood was difficult and in many ways “bad,” the “good” that came once an adult is something I can live with forever. As for him now, once I came of from Military I realized he is now just weak and looks up to me for everything. Thank you again for pulling me to the light to realized from all bad things in life, good can and usually will proval.
    I can only imagine how proud you are of your son, but please dont ever forget to be proud of yourself for the life you have built for your family.
    Thank you Sir.

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