2016-06-30
It's easy to have faith in God when you are feeling thoroughly blessed and everything is going your way. Ah yes, God is good! Real faith comes in handy when you are faced with some kind of what I've heard referred to as an AFGO (another frigging growth opportunity!), and life is definitely NOT going the way you had planned.

When God has different plans for you than you had for yourself, it takes an enormous leap of faith to trust that the new plan that you are getting used to could actually be lucky in some way and better for you in the long run. Often, only hindsight tells us so definitively. Looking back at a tragedy, we see how, when loss unfolded over time, it turned into something lucky.

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Here's a parable from the Huai Nan Tzu that demonstrates this teaching:

"One day, a poor farmer's son returned home with a fine stallion. His neighbors gathered around to congratulate him on his good fortune. "How do you know this is good fortune?" the farmer asked.

"Several weeks later, the horse ran away to the land of the barbarians. When the neighbors expressed their condolences, he asked, "How do you know this is bad luck?" Months later, the stallion returned with a herd of fine mares, and the neighbors again were delighted with his good luck, and he asked "How do you know this isn't a catastrophe?"

"Sure enough, as his son was breaking the wild horses, he fell and shattered his leg. When the neighbors expressed their sympathy, he said, "Who says this is a misfortune?" The next month, the emperor declared war on a neighboring kingdom and conscripted all the able-bodied young men of the village. Nine-tenths of them never returned from the war."Jews are taught to vocalize the Hebrew expression gam zu letovah, meaning, "this too is for the best," whenever something happens that makes them unhappy or worried. You aren't supposed to say it after you already have proof that everything turned out OK. To the contrary, you must say it when you don't have a clue how that could be true. It is a statement of faith that, in God's plan, whatever is happening at the moment is ultimately for the best.

The best teacher of this lesson is history--when you come to see in your own life example after example of when God's plan turned out to be better than your own. You may count your blessings now that you didn't get what you thought you wanted, because what you got instead is so much better.

You might argue, "That's easy for you to say, but you don't know what I'm dealing with! How could this possibly be something that is for the better?" It's the same question as, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" I don't know--only God knows. I do know that our judgment of what is bad or good is coming from the perspective of our limited minds and our needs and addictions, as opposed to whatever our soul might want or need.

We may also have an important part to play in someone else's healing. We won't know until we're dead (hopefully then!) what all the twists and turns in our life were all about and why gam zu letovah--all is for the best--is actually true.

Luck-builders aren't perpetually Pollyannaish people who never complain, cry, or resist the disappointments and devastations that occur in their lives. A natural mourning process is entirely necessary in order to be a healthy human being. Luck-builders just don't let themselves have a pity party for a long period of time. In their own way, they come to accept that whatever is is fine, and then they make the most of it.

Luck-builders also develop an attitude that causes them to interpret events instantaneously from a "creating luck" perspective, rather than a "poor me" one.

Angela Adair-Hoy publishes WritersWeekly.com, a marketing e-mag featuring freelance jobs and paying markets for writers. She shared this luck story in her newsletter one week:

"I've always firmly believed what the Bible says: 'All things work together for good....' Sometimes, when things are really bad, it may take years to see the blessing that came from something you don't like about your life. But, at other times, you see the blessings instantly.

"I was about to get in the shower on Saturday night and caught a glance of my weeks-pregnant body in the mirror. Oh, goodness. I looked like I had a really comfy cushion on the backside and a beer gut on the front side. It was quite depressing, and I was already making diet plans.

"The following morning, my husband and I ventured out to Blockbuster to return movies. Our driveway was a sheet of ice. When we got back, I was walking to the door, and quick as a flash my feet flew out from under me, and I landed HARD on my right hip. Thank GOD I didn't land right square on the middle of my rump, or I'm quite sure our baby would have been injured.

"The fall was so hard that my head hurt from the jarring. But I got up and walked inside and then did a load of laundry. I was just fine! You see, the large rear end and hips that I had been cursing in the mirror the night before were the cushion for the fall, and very likely saved our baby. Yesterday, I went to the doc for a sonogram, and junior is doing just fine after the fall, thanks to my big butt."

Creating-Luck Strategy

Develop the skill of looking for the blessings instantly in any event, big or small, that happens to you when it is initially unwelcomed. At the very least, remind yourself of how it could have been worse. Even better, look for an explanation of how this was really a blessing in disguise.

This exercise isn't recommended for a recent tragic loss of a loved one. But we all know, 98% of what we worry and complain about doesn't fall in that category--try this strategy for events like slipping on the ice, not getting a job you thought you wanted, growing older and losing some of your physical acuity, or a challenging moment with a recalcitrant teenager. It won't make everything you deal with in life easy, but having faith in God that all is for the best WILL make life much easier.
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