Is something or someone bothering you? Is there a troublesome person or difficult situation you would like to eliminate from your life? How about experiences in your past? Or present? Are you facing an imminent and difficult situation that you wish would simply go away?
A story from the life of Abraham Lincoln, American president, affords a wonderful lesson for living. During Lincoln’s presidency, an appointee was always finding ways to challenge and disrupt whatever the president tried to do. If Lincoln was in favor of an issue, you could bet that this fellow would be opposed to it. When this had been going on for quite some time, a friend of Lincoln’s asked him why he didn’t have this person replaced by someone more agreeable. Lincoln answered by telling his friend the following tale.
Lincoln was walking down a country road one day and came upon a farmer plowing his field with a horse‑drawn plough. As he drew near and was about to give a greeting, Lincoln noticed a big horsefly on the flank of the horse. As the fly was obviously biting and bothering the horse, Lincoln started to brush it off. As he raised his hand, the farmer stopped him and said, “Don’t do that, friend. That horsefly is the only thing keeping this old horse moving.”
If you reflect on your life, you may recall times when you couldn’t see the value of some person and were tempted to brush him or her off. It takes hindsight to recognize that the very situation you may have seen as an irritating bother turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Wouldn’t life be a much more enjoyable and meaningful experience if we decided to look at the difficult people and irritating situations as blessings in disguise? If we look deeply enough, we might see these experiences as situations that motivate us to grow and change for the better. Like the horsefly, they may well be what is keeping us going!
One of the most important truths we can know when facing life’s challenges is the following: this experience came to give me soul-growth and to bless me. If we seek to avoid the experience, we deprive ourself of the blessing contained therein. We often forget the Laws of Mind-Action and Cause and Effect. If we didn’t need the experience for our growth, it would be unlikely to come to us. Or if it did, we wouldn’t be affected or even bothered! We would serenely and confidently move through the situation.
It’s important to remember that we have a choice on how we respond to life. A wise person once said that it’s not what happens to us in life that’s most important, it’s how we respond to what happens to us. This wonderful law of life can be practiced and perfected. As a start, it’s important to realize that there’s good in everything and everyone. Before we brush away troublesome people and difficult situations, let’s take a closer look. That troublesome person or difficult situation may very well be a blessing in disguise.
As an expression of God, you are always greater than any problem, condition, experience, or situation. When you are tempted to doubt, fear, or resist what is happening, there is a tool you can effectively use. It is the simple truth statement: This came to bless me! Sometimes a situation that seems so unnecessary is essential to us and to our spiritual growth and unfolding. The Bible assures us that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” Think of how the seeming worst-case scenario has often been transformed into the absolute best in the lives of those who believed this truth and accepted it into their life.
In Lewis Carroll’s immortal Alice in Wonderland, Alice stands trembling before the Queen of Hearts, who proclaims, “Off with her head!” Alice is about to succumb to a fit of terror when she suddenly comes to herself in the realization, “Why, you’re nothing but a pack of cards!” And they all fly away! Alice’s blessing came through realization and understanding and the return of courage. You have the ability to make opposition work for you.