This is a story that Bob Russell used to use in his sermons every now and then. It has served me well when things were not going very good. I would remember that the Bible says that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and then I would think of this story.
There’s an old legend about a Chinaman whose horse broke out of the coral and ran away. His neighbors sympathized, “Sorry to hear about your horse—too bad.” “Well, we don’t know if it’s bad or not,” said the Chinaman. “Wait and see.” The next day the horse returned and led five beautiful wild stallions into the fold. “Good news about your horse returning,” the neighbors said. “Well, we don’t know if it’s good news or not,” said the Chinaman. The next week his son was thrown off one of the wild stallions and the boy broke his leg. “So sorry about your son,” said the neighbors. “To bad he broke his leg.” “Well, we are not sure it’s all bad,” responded the Chinaman. The next day a military leader came by conscripting all able-bodied young men for the military. The Chinaman’s son was exempted because of his disability and all the neighbors rejoiced, “Good news about your son not heaving to go off to war,” they said. But the Chinaman said, “We can’t be sure if it is good news or not.” A week later the young soldiers returned from a victorious battle and celebrated by dividing up the spoils. “To bad your son was not able to go with us,” one of them said. “We’re not sure that’s bad,” said the Chinaman. The story could go on for ever! What appears to be good news one day can be bad the next and vice-versa.
The lesson that I received was “We can’t always understand how God is working for our good. What seems bad one day will be good the next”. (Romans 8:28 )