There is an ancient Chinese story of a farmer who had an old horse for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer's neighbors sympathized with him over his bad luck, the farmer replied, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?" A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, "Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?"
Then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this was very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?"
Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?
A verse that could easily be found on a decorative board in a gift boutique, Paul writes in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” In the above story, the runaway horse and the son’s broken leg proved to be a blessing in the long run. The farmer ended up with more horses and his son was spared military duty.
This is not to say all things are good, rather all things work together for good. Perhaps you can find examples from your own life. Jesus is a good illustration of this point. Jesus was misunderstood, ridiculed, mocked, beaten, spit upon, and finally crucified. And from all this came the greatest good of all our salvation, freed from sin and death. Staying in Chapter 8 of Romans, in verses 29 and 30, we have what some scholars call God’s Salvation chain. Here are the key words of that chain: God foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. Notice all are actions of God and all are in the past tense. God’s plan has been fulfilled and salvation has been achieved.
To be predestined doesn’t mean our every action is predetermined. Paul is not saying God has already determined who is or who is not saved, or that God created a limited number of people to believe in Christ. Rather God has marked out a glorious future for those who love him. God desires that we should be like his son.
Our challenge is to be an active part of God’s plan. The gift of free will allows us the ability to choose following God or go in a different direction. We can turn down the invitation.
Made whole by God’s grace, we can do God’s will and realize his goodness. With eyes of faith, may we be comforted with the hope found in God’s plan, as we face the mystery of life.
Have a peace filled week!