Monday, September 29, 2008

The Woodcutter's Wisdom 2


More from the marvelous story about the woodcutter...

The man responded, "once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don't judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a is so vast and yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment. Don't say that this is a blessing -- no one knows. I am content with what I know; I am not perturbed by what I don't."

"Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another, so they said little. But down deep, they knew that he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again, the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments. "You were right," they said. "You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing...they were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever."

The old man spoke again. "You people are obsessed with judging. Don't go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows...we only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments."

It so happened that a few weeks later, the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying...because their sons had been taken. The enemy was strong and there was little chance that they would return. "You were right, old man," they wept. "God knows that you were right. This proves it. Your son's accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever."

The old man spoke again. "It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conlusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if this is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know -- only God knows."


The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life's mishaps and struggles are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conlusions. We must reserve judgment on life's storms until we know the whole story.

I don't know where the woodcutter learned his patience. Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee. For it was the Carpenter who said it best: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."



P.S. Is there any application from this story that can be made to our culture right now? To the financial crisis? To the election? To.....???

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