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Southland Christian Ministry Training

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Good Fortune

There is a very old story about a wise farmer who had an old horse that he used for tilling his fields.  One day the horse escaped into the hills, and when the farmer’s neighbours heard what had happened and  sympathised with the old man over his misfortune, the farmer replied, “Misfortune? Good fortune?  Who knows!”

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good fortune.  His reply was, “Misfortune? Good fortune?  Who knows!”

Then, when the farmers’ son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off the horse, and broke his leg.  Everyone thought this was very bad misfortune.  Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Misfortune? Good fortune?  Who knows!”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there.  when they saw the farmers’ son with his broken leg, they let him off.  Now was that “Good fortune?  Misfortune?  who knows!”

Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be good in disguise.  And everything that seems good on the surface may really be an evil.  So we are wise then, if  we leave it to God to decide what is good fortune and what is misfortune, and thank Him that all things will turn out for good for those who love Him.  Then we shall share something of that marvellous mystical vision of Julian of Norwich who uttered what, for me, is the loveliest and most consoling sentence I have ever read:  “and all things shall be well; and all things shall be well; and all manner of things shall be well!”

Chaplain Ian Whitley

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