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.
If you’re a young seedling trying to survive, the worst thing that can happen to you is to be set upon by a cutworm.
Gardeners know this all too well. We start seeds indoors early in the season, with grand visions of the sturdy and beautiful plants they’ll eventually become. We baby the seedlings and give them just the right amount of water and light to set them on their journey to a bright future.
But then, soon after we’ve planted the seedlings in their forever home in our garden, disaster strikes.
The dreaded cutworm arrives in the night and stealthily attacks our precious young plants. It eats through their tender stems at ground level, cutting them off at the knees, as it were.
When we eagerly bound outside in the morning to check on the progress of our young charges, we’re confronted with a garden plot that has been laid waste in the most cruel way. Severed young plants lie helplessly wilting, cut off from the roots supplying them with sustenance. There is no hope for them now: they will surely die.
What makes it worse is that the cutworm hasn’t even bothered to eat the whole seedling, like a rabbit would: it seems to have acted out of sheer spite.
The cutworm has done its worst, and all we can do is mourn.
I’m overdramatizing this, of course, but the frustration, anger and sense of powerlessness gardeners feel when faced with the cutworm’s nefarious deeds are very real.
Even if you’re not a gardener, you’ve probably experienced emotions like these in your life. I’m sure we all have.
Because there will always be people trying to cut you down to size.
Sometimes doing things ourselves isn’t always the best idea, is it?
My mechanic certainly seems to think so.
I saw a humorous sign at his shop a few months ago when I was getting the snow tires put on my car. It read:
Regular rate: $1 per hour
If you watch: $2 per hour
If you help: $10 per hour
If you tried to fix it yourself and couldn’t: $20 per hour.”
I guess sometimes it’s simply better to let an expert handle things!
It’s no different in our lives, is it?
Sometimes God wants us to hand Him the reins and trust that He’ll come through for us. If we try to do things our own way, it can end up being costly and taking more time.