[This post is the fourth in a blog series on prayer. If you haven’t yet, I recommend you read the previous three posts first, beginning with Learning How to Pray.]
Before I launch into this week’s theme on prayer, let me tell you an old Zen story.
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
I love that story because it reminds me that I can never see the big picture enough to judge whether something is “good” or “bad.” Things that at first seems like hardships can end up opening the way for blessings, and vice versa.Continue Reading