Four years ago I would never have dreamed I would once again be in my home state of Arkansas, enjoying the beauty and richness of a land that I had stamped the dust of from off my feet in disgust years ago. As in the story of the ugly duckling, emerging from a winter of pain into a spring filled with the beauty of the reflection in the pond of a fully matured swan, my life in Arkansas now seems magical again.
There are those that ask, why does God allow all of this pain and anguish we are feeling in our world? And I admit I have asked that myself. The Ugly Duckling wondered the same, trying to imagine what purpose he would serve as such an ugly animal in a world of the beautiful and adept swimmers in his pond.
At the end of the story this is what the Ugly Duckling learned:
“But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan.
To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg. He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the newcomer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome.” Hans Christian Anderson
God doesn’t inflict pain, he just does not step in and make us do what is right. I would go further and say he even allows it to happen as with the Ugly Duckling. There are repercussions to everything we do, good and bad, and there is something we can learn from that pain or blessing that results. He will, however, step in to help if you ask. So ask.
For this new year I would pass along some encouraging thoughts that have come to me while talking with God over the past weeks. That is, to believe in yourself and trust that He can sustain you. To walk upright before Him and to trust in the abilities that His changes have instilled in you, and to always remember that God loves us just as we love our own children.
During this transition into the new year, I am confident that new opportunities lie ahead that have been in the making this past year and in years past. No doubt this is true in your own life, your business, and your family. Open your eyes and heart to them. I see some clearly and hints of others in my life and business. I look forward to what is to come with this new year and new opportunities.