Life has it’s good moments and its bad moments, right? Then again, when we take a look around, it’s some of the most mundane or even seemingly bad moments that get us to the best places. Perhaps we are a bit too quick to jump to judging our circumstances.
I once heard a parable about a man. It went a little something like this:
One day, there was a man in a village. His only horse ran away one day, and all the man’s friends came to him saying, “We’re so sorry. You’re horse ran away. That’s bad news.”
The man simply replied, “Good or bad. Hard to say.”
A few days later, as the man was minding his own business, his horse ventured back up to his property with seven other wild horses following. All the man’s neighbors congratulated him. “What a stroke of good luck! More horses are a good!”
The man replied, “Good or bad. Hard to say.”
It wasn’t much long after that the man’s son was caught trying to ride one of the wild horses. Naturally, he was unable to handle the animal and was bucked off. When the neighborhood found out that the boy had broken his leg, many said, “That is bad to hear.”
But once again, the man only replied, “Good or bad. Hard to say.”
Yet a little later, a man knocked on the door. He was a soldier, enlisting boys and young men for the army. A war had begun in the countryside. The soldier took one look at the man’s son and moved on to the next home. With a broken leg, the boy was no use to his country.
Of course, all the man’s friends congratulated him at the news that his son had been passed by in the draft.
And once again, the man said, “Good or bad. Hard to say.”
The parable could go on and on and on. But the point is two-fold and quite clear: you can’t judge life by individual moments, and each moment is but a culmination of all the ones that came before it.
The truth is simple, but we often miss it. We like to judge every moment of our life when reality is much more fluid than what our labels would suggest.
We like to label each situation, each day, each interaction as good or as bad just like the friends and neighbors of the man in the story. But what the man had the wisdom to see that many couldn’t was that a moment may look one way but may culminate totally differently than we anticipate.
Every moment is but a set up for the moments that come after it. To call a thing good or bad is to limit it when, in reality, its effects are infinite.
Yet, we judge. We watch how the apparently good turns to bad and the bad turns to good, but something in us still likes to categorize moments.
So if we can see the evidence that life is a continuous ebb and flow that really can’t be thrown into a category of good or bad, why do we still try to label things?
It’s pretty simple: pride.
Our human tendency to want to know everything leads us to spend copious amounts of energy saying this is good or this is bad. We somehow convince ourselves that categorizing, judging, or understanding a situation gives us power over it. We want the control. If we can confidently call something good or bad, then we feel we have gained some sort of mastery.
And, yet, again and again we watch our feigned grasp on our lives slip through our fingers as one moment leads unexpectedly towards the future that only God knows.
There’s something in us that knows we are small, that knows there is something much much greater at work in everything. But that can be scary, too. Admitting that is the same as admitting that we, in fact, don’t have it all together.
Okay, so we recognize our human nature is to judge life’s moments in an attempt to understand and control them. We also can see pretty clearly that putting a label on a situation doesn’t keep it contained. Where do we go from here?
We find so much peace when we let go of trying to keep our life together. Our constant struggle to maintain control is fruitless and exhausting, but giving our life into God’s hands is liberating and exhilarating. It creates space for us to enjoy the journey God has set us on and experience all the miraculous ways He sets His will into motion.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Here’s a few ways to stop judging life and start living it in God’s hands
If we pause a moment and reflect on how far we’ve come, it’s easy to see how good God is. He has worked so many different things to get you to exactly where you are right now.
Even if life doesn’t look great at the moment, I’m sure there are other moments in your life where you can see that even though circumstances looked bleak, God came through and brought daylight again.
Related Post: Finding Contentment
Take the time to praise God for seeing more than you can see. If I had had everything my way, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today. I wouldn’t know God the way I know Him. I may not have met my husband. My family wouldn’t be as close as we are. There are so many things on and on that I can see God worked out for my good. Even when it feels painful or I feel like He had forgotten about me, He always shows up to work all things together for my good.
Take note of where you were and where you are today and consider where you might be if everything had gone according to your plan instead of God’s. It puts things into perspective really quickly. Some of those things that felt so bad are the very things that make us who we are and shape us into who He created us to be.
We all look at life from our own perspective. But most of the time, there’s so much more to it than that. Before you start judging, ask God for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to see the bigger picture at hand. It’s not even just about seeing things from someone else’s perspective, because the truth is, there view is limited, too. Instead, it’s about getting a heavenly perspective. Ask God to give you eyes to see the way He sees.
When you get a fresh vision of life, each moment becomes a puzzle piece instead of an illusion of the end-all-be-all. Instead of the current moment feeling like it’s under a microscope, you can experience all of life from a high-level point of view. It’s like a bird soaring over a landscape. It’s continuous and flowing.
Above all, to experience God’s true peace and joy no matter how we may perceive circumstances to be, we must let go and trust Him.
When we humble ourselves to open our hands up to God and give it all to Him, He begins to move in our life’s little moments even more fluidly than when we were holding on so tightly. We don’t really have the control anyway. Letting go sets our sights on the One who does have the control instead of on the situations surrounding us. When we judge our circumstances, we give them too much power as it is. A moment is a moment. The real power comes from Whom we are looking to in the moment.
When we judge life’s moments, we end up stressed, anxious, worried, sad, angry, depressed. But when we let go of the need to understand, the need to categorize, the need to control, we find unprecedented joy, peace, and love in our spirits in all circumstances as we look to the Father and witness His perfect plan unfold.