Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heads or Tails?

"a blessing and a curse"
Deuteronomy 11:26

Last Tuesday night, I found myself sitting with my mother in the local Emergency Room. Though we didn’t know it at the time, my father had had a mild heart attack.  All we knew then was that he had felt tingling in his left arm, and pressure in his shoulder.  He was being checked in for an “overnight” stay that would turn into three days in the ICU.

Mom and I sat there while they settled him into a bed, and she was telling me about the book she’s reading right now.  It’s a collection of ancient tales and parables, and she had just finished reading an old Chinese legend about a man who owned a magnificent horse.  Everyone in the village thought he was blessed to own such a horse.  But then horse ran away and the villagers said he must have been cursed for such a thing to have happened.   

But the horse returned, with twenty-one wild horses, that the law said became the property of the old man.  And the villagers remarked what a blessed man he was to have such luck.   

But a short time later, his only son was riding that horse, and fell off and broke his leg.  And the villagers said the old man must be cursed.   

But then a week later, the king came through the village, drafting every able-bodied young man for war.  And every young man in that village was killed in that war – but for the old man’s son.  He had not been taken to war, because of that broken leg.   

The story ended this way:  “To this day, in that village, they say, ‘What seems like a blessing may be a curse.  What seems like a curse may be a blessing.”

I did not miss the irony of her words as we sat waiting in the hospital.  And a week later I can say that my father’s mild heart attack was a blessing.  He has now been warned of the arterial condition he has, and steps he can take to prevent problems in the future.  

Hindsight is a marvelous thing, isn't it?  Looking back, we can recognize what we cannot, in the midst.  But hindsight, foresight, all sight... is God sight.  He sees what we don't.  He knows what we don't.  

And yet we're convinced of things we really don't understand at all...

~ "the wisdom of this world
        is foolishness to God" ~
1 Corinthians 3:19

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