Wouldn’t it be great if everything that happened to us was good? Whether you label something as “good” or “not good” oftentimes depends on the perspective you choose. In each event or circumstance of life we have the freedom to choose how we react.
It has been said that in every circumstance we face, between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose a response. That response will often dictate our growth, or downfall.
There is a tale of an African king who had a childhood friend. That friend was a constant optimist, and no matter what happened in life, he always said the same thing, “This is good!”
One day the king and his best friend went hunting, and on that hunting trip the friend prepared the weapons and loaded the guns for the king. But this particular day, something happened. He misjudged, and while shooting, the gun exploded and took off one of the king’s thumbs with it.
The friend, seeing this, exclaimed, “This is good!”
The king raged, “How can this be good? This is NOT good!” Upon their return, he ordered the friend thrown into the deepest cell of the prison.
Some time later, the king went on another hunting trip, but not far from his destination, he was caught by a group of vicious cannibals, who took him back to their village to prepare a feast from his flesh.
But when they saw his thumb was missing, they sent him on his way, because it was bad luck to eat an unwhole, or incomplete, person in their culture.
Upon the king’s return, he immediately told his friend the story and had him released. As the friend stepped out of his prison cell, the king said, ”I am so sorry my dear friend, you were right all along. It WAS good that I lost my thumb. It was wrong of me to put you in prison.”
“No, no,” laughed the friend. “It was good!”
“How can you say it was good?” The king asked.
“Because if you hadn’t, I would have been with you on this trip.”
While this story may be humorous, there are some important things we can take from it.
We often find ourselves in situations of life, and tend to categorize them. This is good, or this is not good. This is great, or this is bad. These assessments are usually made based on what we see right now. More often than not, our judgments are based on some of our emotions, and may, or may not, be the correct response.
We, as humans, are only able to see life in the snapshot of a moment, a very small part of the picture, while God looks at the “big picture.” We are so focused on what things appear to be now, while God is focused on a far bigger picture than we can see. God sees much farther down the road than we can, and His ways are higher than ours. I have learned that what happens “to” me is not nearly as important as what happens “in” me.
Unfortunately, everything that we have to deal with in life will not immediately appear to be for our good. Also remember, everything that happens to you is not just about you.
If you know the story of Joseph from the Bible, you may remember that a lot of things that happened to Joseph did not appear to be good. In fact, he went for several years when it appeared that everything that happened to him was not good. And yet in the end, Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
Is what’s happening to you today good, or not good? Are you angry or frustrated that THIS is not what you asked for? Maybe you’ve already made up your mind, but perhaps it would be good if you took a moment, stepped back, and asked God, how He sees the situation.
The promise of God is, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
I know it’s a tough call, but it’s critical that you make a distinction between immediate good and ultimate good. God’s ultimate goal for you is that you are transformed into His likeness and for you to fulfill the potential that He has planted within you.
Maybe, just maybe, what you have called “not good” will turn out to be “good” for you and for others, if not in the immediate moment, at some point in your life.