Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if a circumstance is a blessing or a curse.
You’d think it would be easy to know if something was good or bad, wouldn’t you?
But you might not be correct.
I used to complain to anyone who would listen about how much work it was taking care of my parent’s yard. The huge corner lot involved endless mowing of the lawn in summer and raking of leaves in fall. Not to mention shovelling all the snow off the driveway and extra-long sidewalk in winter.
I’d gripe that caring for their yard would be the death of me.
Then one day I happened to look at my biceps.
Not bad at all. Sort of impressive, really, for a woman my age. I don’t go to the gym, so what was keeping me toned and fit?
Taking care of the dang yard, that’s what.
What I had cursed as a burden was actually the very thing that was keeping my muscles and bones strong. I repented for my grumbling and ingratitude as I realized that the big yard had been a blessing in disguise.
Sometimes God uses what appears to be something negative to bring about something positive. We shouldn’t be too hasty to assume that we know whether something is good or bad.
Do you have a fear of bugs?
Many of us do, and I don’t mind admitting that I’m one of them.
Finding a bug in the house instills terror in me. I’m convinced the bug is out to get me, lying in wait to murder me.
I’m tempted to have armed police arrive at my door to deal with the “intruder.” It takes all the self-control I can muster to refrain from dialling 911.
People tell me I’m being irrational. After all, humans are thousands of times bigger than bugs. Insects are probably more afraid of us than we are of them, right?
But I don’t see it that way, so I’m afraid to confront them.
I’ve fallen into the trap of letting my fear get out of proportion to the problem.
Many of us make this mistake. We let fear get the better of us, and it hobbles our responses to life’s challenges.
In ancient times, the children of Israel were no exception.
Can you have too much of a good thing?
When it comes to chocolate, I would say an unequivocal no.
What about when it comes to having assistance in the kitchen? Surely you can’t go wrong having an abundance of help when you’re cooking?
You would think not, wouldn’t you?
But there’s a limit to how many “sous-chefs” you should have.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “too many cooks spoil the broth.” This idiom can be literally true. One person might decide the soup needs more salt, so liberally adds more. The next helper might think the soup is too salty, so dilutes it to compensate.
Some might figure the soup needs more onion; others think it’s too spicy. Each tries to correct the perceived mistakes of the others until you end up with an inedible mess.
Sometimes we need to be judicious about who we listen to.
There are some key examples in Scripture which teach us that too many “cooks” or advisors can confuse and divide us.
I truly think that God is in favour of ice cream.
Don’t believe me? Let me try to convince you.
In the Old Testament, the children of Israel were told that God would be bringing them into the Promised Land, a land “flowing with milk and honey.”
Well, milk is a dairy product, right? And honey is a sweetener. If you’ve got a dairy product and a sweetener, you’re halfway to ice cream right there. (To get all the way, see the recipe for homemade strawberry ice cream below.)
Too bad the ancient Israelites hadn’t invented freezers, or they could have enjoyed ice cream on the shores of the Mediterranean. Nothing tops eating refreshing ice cream on a sunny day at the beach, does it?
I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek with this, of course, but I do believe there’s a lesson that we need to learn from God’s promise to the Israelites about a land flowing with milk and honey.
It shows us that God delights in giving His children good things.
But sometimes we may find this hard to believe.