I recently blogged about "Perspective...is the cistern half empty or half full?" not realizing that what was already bad would get even worse. Did I believe what I wrote. Yes. Did it change my circumstances. No...unfortunately not. What it did do was bring me to a place of dependence instead of my usual independence...a place where I proudly declared..."I've got this one covered, God...don't need your help."
It's not a bad place to be even though the sting of personal growth has been seemingly unbearable at times. It was during one of those times that my sister, Melody, recounted the first line she heard from a speaker at church. The lady that spoke was named, Jennifer Rothschild...a woman who had lost her sight when she was a teenager through a retina disease. She had been homecoming queen and a talented artist with hopes of being a cartoonist or animator. Instead...life dealt her a bad hand and she slowly and completely lost her sight. She began her talk with these words:
"Is it well with your soul? I am not asking if it's well with your circumstances...is it well with your soul?"
Melody went on to tell me the rest of her story...but it was those words that resonated in my heart all day long. My circumstances were anything but good. I had just found out that the truck that broke down last week would require an entirely new engine...among other things. I had been without transportation for a week...and I was certainly believing God for a different outcome...but this is what hand I was dealt.
Was it well with my soul? There were times when it surely didn't feel like it...but at the end of the day...I was happy to say it was. I have no idea where the money will come from to fix my work vehicle nor do I know where my next sale will come from. But I do know...that because He is in control...I have nothing to fear. It is well with my soul.
I went to Jennifer's web site and found this blog she had written. It's funny how adversity steers us to places we would have never gone to. Just like the cow who saw a new gate in the pasture that didn't make sense... We have an opportunity to go through the gate or turn around and go back...not ever knowing what life's challenges could bring.
I hope her blog encourages you as much as it did me...
Like a Cow at a New Gate
The farmer recounted how his cows behaved when he put up a new gate: "Mooo, that's not been here before...Must turn around." He described how they shift, shake their heads and moo. Some turn and wander away. Some stand before it paralyzed.
That very gate may be the way to greener pastures and lush surroundings. That single gate may be what stands between the thirsty cow and a fresh watering hole. But the cow stares at the gate--half confused, half offended--and seems to think, "Moo, moo...that doesn't belong here. I'm just gonna turn around and go back, or stand here and stare at it."
We often act like cows at new gates. What we really long for is just on the other side of something new and unfamiliar, but we often forfeit what we really desire because to get there means we have to face what is new and unfamiliar. It feels entirely too risky. However, gates are not barriers unless you are unwilling to open them and pass through.
When we stand before new gates in our lives, we often feel confused. "What? That's not been here before. That's not the way I have always done it." So we turn around or stand still. Some of us just get offended. "What? The old gate was just fine. How dare anyone think I need to go through a new gate? That's not what I am accustomed to. I am not going to mooooove!"
Let's not be like cows at new gates. Let's be willing to consider new things and confidently approach that which is unfamiliar. In doing so, we will get to a place of deep satisfaction and nourishment for our souls.
What is the new gate you are facing? What would your life be like if you were willing to proceed right through it? Don't see that gate in your life as a barrier; rather, see that gate as an open invitation to something new, better and broader. That new gate you face will only be a barrier if you are unwilling to open it. If you act like a cow at a new gate, you will lock yourself in to the place you've always been and keep yourself from the place you long to be.
You know I can't resist writing this bad pun as my last thought: Just moo, moo, moooooove sister!
"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:19a)