The Woodcutter’s Wisdom
Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. "This horse is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?"
One morning he found his horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see and scoffed him, "We told you that someone would steal your horse. It would have been better to have sold him. Now the horse is gone, and you've been cursed with misfortune."
The old man responded, "Don't speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know. If I've been cursed or not, how can you judge?" The people contested, "Don't make us out to be fools! The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse."
The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?" The people laughed. They had always thought he was fool.
After fifteen days, the horse returned with a dozen wild horses. He hadn't been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. "Old man, you were right. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us."
The man responded, "You go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him. Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word.
All you have is a fragment! 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. But down deep, they knew he was wrong.
The old man had an only son. The young man began to train 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 judgements. They said. "The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse." The old man spoke again. "Don't go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse?"
A few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because injured.
Once again people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return.
They wept, "Yours son's accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you." The old man spoke again, "You always draw conclusions. Say only: Your sons had to go to war, and mine not. No one is wise enough to know if it is a blessing or a curse. Only God knows." * *
The old man was right. We only have a fragment of our whole life story. We must be slow about drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgement on life's storms until we know the whole story.
"Do not worry about tomorrow" (Matthew 6:34). God is the Author of our life stories and HE has already written the final chapter. "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcomings" - Hellen Keller