I heard a story recently about a king in Africa who had a close friend whom he knew since childhood. This friend had a habit of looking at every situation whether good or ill and remarking “This is good!”
One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend was loading the guns and then handing them to the king. Apparently he did something wrong in preparing one gun, for after taking the gun, the king pulled the trigger and his thumb was blown off.
Examining the king’s hand, the friend remarked, as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his ex-friend to jail.
About a year later, the king was hunting in area that he should have stayed clear. Cannibals captured him and took them to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. But as they were about to light the fire, one of them noticed that they king was missing a thumb. In their superstitious beliefs, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So they untied the king and let him go.
When he returned home, the king remembered his friend. In remorse he went to jail to speak to him. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” He then proceeded to tell him all that had happened. “I’m very sorry for sending you to jail for this. It was bad of me to do this.”
“No,” his friend replied, “this is good!”
“What do you mean, ‘this is good!’ How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?”
“If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you and the cannibals.”
Each day we have the privilege and responsibility to choose our response to the circumstances of our life. In our service to God, we are called to come to God with Willingness, and render Obedience. But even willingness and obedience are not sufficient if they are not mingled with heaven-sent Joy.