There is a Chinese Parable of the Farmer that seems extra relevant right now:
“Once there was a Chinese farmer who worked his poor farm together with his son and their horse. When the horse ran off one day, neighbors came to say, “How unfortunate for you!” The farmer replied, “Maybe.” When the horse returned, followed by a herd of wild horses, the neighbors gathered around and exclaimed, “What good luck for you!” The farmer stayed calm and replied, “Maybe.” While trying to tame one of the wild horses, the farmer’s son fell and broke his leg. He had to rest up and couldn’t help with the farm chores. “How sad for you,” the neighbors cried. “Maybe.” said the farmer. Shortly after that, a neighboring army threatened the farmer’s village. All the young men in the village were drafted to fight the invaders. Many died. But the farmer’s son had been left out of the fighting because of his broken leg. People said to the farmer, “What a good thing your son couldn’t fight!” “Maybe.” was all the farmer said.”
We’re living in very uncertain times, but it’s in God’s hands.
The first couple of months of 2020 provided me with plenty of practice for the stay-in-place. I started this year with major surgery and a tough recovery. I had a few days between my diagnoses and the scheduled surgery to update loved ones and hang out with friends. A common question I received was, “are you afraid?” I realized that in a situation that warranted fear, I found myself vacant of it. I thought about it a bit and realized that throughout my life, I had been fearful of less threatening things, including previous less invasive surgery. So what changed?
Along my spiritual journey, the deep acknowledgment of two main principles really changed my relationship with fear. The first principle is well illustrated through the parable of the Chinese farmer told above. The human mind’s categorization of “good” and “bad” is limited. Only God knows whether something is “good” or “bad” from a holistic spiritual and physical point of view. In addition, regardless of the nature of the occurrence, God can use it for God’s will (Romans 8:28). The second principle: God is Love (1 John 4:8,16). In the original Greek, God is “Agape,” unconditional love. The life of Jesus further reflects a deeply selfless love.
God’s knowledge is unlimited, power insurmountable, love intoxicating. At some point in recent years, I had decided to face my fears by trust falling into God. By the day of my surgery, I knew I had good reason to worry. But I couldn’t. God is bigger than human reasoning. When the operating room was ready, I laid my head on the surgical table and prepared to close my eyes and enter into a void of uncertainty. I didn’t know what I would wake up to, or would not wake up to. However, I knew deeply that regardless of the outcome, through God, all is well.
We’re living in very uncertain times right now, but someway, somehow, it is well.
-by Ayanna Seals, past volunteer