What really is BEST?

There’s an old story in Eastern folklore that goes something like this:

A man had a really nice horse, but it ran away.

The man’s neighbor came and said, “Oh, that’s really bad!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

A few days later, his horse returned with 20 other beautiful wild horses.

The neighbor came again and said, “Wow! That’s really good!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

A few days later, the man’s son was training one of the wild horses, and the horse kicked him so hard it broke the son’s leg.

The neighbor came again and said, “Oh, that’s really bad!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

A few days later a rough and evil group of thugs came by to force-recruit able young men into their gang. They came for the man’s son, but since his leg was broken, they left him alone and moved on.

The neighbor came again and said, “Wow! That’s really good!”

The man answered him, “What do I know about these things?”

In one short series of circumstances, we see that what seems best could be bad, and what seems bad could be good. In wisdom, the man responded, “What do I know about these things?”

I want to cling to the only One who does know about the circumstances in our lives—the One who does know about the future, and trust that He not only knows, but is working out His perfect plan for those who submit to His will.

Last week I had all kinds of thoughts stirring around the story of Jesus healing the guy who had been an invalid for 38 years in John chapter 5. The poor guy told Jesus he had no one to put him into the healing waters at the Pool of Bethesda.

That story carried my mind to the story of the paralytic found in Mark 2. This guy had 4 great friends who carried him on a mat to the very crowded house where Jesus was staying. They hauled him up to the roof, cut a big hole in the roof, and lowered him down for Jesus to heal him.

I thought, “Man, the invalid in John 5 needed the friends of the paralytic in Mark 2! Surely these four guys who were willing and able to cut a hole in a roof and lower their friend through it could’ve quickly and easily gotten the invalid into the water at the healing Pool of Bethesda.”

Then I wondered, “What if those four guys would’ve been there to help the John 5 guy get healed? What if they would’ve been there by his side, just 2 years into the man’s plight, and saved him 36 whole years of suffering?”

That would’ve been the BEST!!!

Surely the invalid would have thought so.

Surely he would’ve voted for an earlier end to his suffering.

Surely he would be convinced that’s what a loving God would want.

But would it have REALLY been the best?

Surely he wouldn’t have been there that very day Jesus showed up.

Surely he would’ve missed out on seeing and talking to Jesus face to face.

Surely he would’ve missed out on hearing Jesus’ warm invitation to stop sinning.

Hmmm…

What do I think is best?

Ending my suffering, or meeting Jesus and knowing Him more intimately?

I’d like to say that my answer is always and forever “knowing Jesus more intimately,” but my thoughts and my actions often show I’m voting for the “end my suffering” and even the “end my silly inconveniences” answer.

Who knows what’s best?

When the paralytic was lowered through the roof by his four great friends in Mark chapter 2, surely he had high hopes that Jesus would immediately heal his physical condition. In verse 5, we read, “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

WHAT?!?

I can totally picture the paralyzed man responding, “But Jesus! It’s okay if You wanna forgive my sins, but what I REALLY want is to be healed!”

Jesus told him to pick up his mat and walk, and that day, Jesus showed a house full of needy normal people and “think-they-were-not-needy” religious people that He had the authority to heal bodies and to forgive sins.

Through these stories, the Holy Spirit nudges me to ask myself some tough questions. Maybe He’s nudging you too.

What do I think is best?

a. A pain-free, inconvenience-free life on earth?

b. A deeper relationship with Jesus?

What do I desire most?

a. A pain-free, inconvenience-free life on earth?

b. A deeper relationship with Jesus?

What do my actions show I desire most?

a. A pain-free, inconvenience-free life on earth?

b. A deeper relationship with Jesus?

Who really knows what’s best for me?

a. Me

b. Jesus

Jonah 2:8-9

“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”  (NIV)

Precious Lord,

Sometimes I feel like Eve in the Garden with a snake whispering the words of doubt in my ear that maybe You don’t know or want what’s best for me. Or maybe You know and want what’s best, but You seem to be taking way too long in getting it to me.

Please help me to spend more time tuning my ears to Your Word, so that Your promises to never leave or forsake me, and Your demonstration of laying Your life down for me will be the loud and clear truth that fuels my passion for You. Amen.

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2 Responses

  1. Paula Zielke

    Love it! Great challenge!

    1. Caryn Author

      Thanks so much, Paula! You’re such an encourager. 🙂

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