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  • Cass Rulon-Miller

Good news, bad news, who can say?

May 14, 2020


It has been eight weeks since Pennsylvania shut down. Somehow it seems a lot longer than that. I hope you are all well, and continue to stay safe. Please remember to contact someone on the pastoral care committee if you need help, whatever it may be. 

About twelve years ago, I heard the following Chinese Parable:


A Chinese farmer purchases a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, “That’s bad news.” The farmer replies, “Good news, bad news, who can say?” The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news you might say. The farmer gives it to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg. “So sorry for your bad news,” says the concerned neighbor. “Good news, bad news, who can say?” the farmer replies. In a week or so, the emperor’s men come and take every able-bodied young man to fight in a war. The farmer’s son is spared. Good news, of course.


What I have learned from this parable is, whether something appears to be good or bad, more will be revealed. There is a lot that is bad right now with this pandemic, and we have also seen a lot of good because of it. In reality, this time in our lives could be the season to discover what really matters. What exactly do we need to survive? We are learning a lot about what we can do without because we have been forced to be without. Consequently, for most of us, this pandemic has created space in our lives that we never had or wanted before. How do we fill that space?  Do we fill it with activities such as obsessive news watching, eating out of boredom, worrying that we might get the virus? I have certainly fallen victim to all those activities. I do not want to do that anymore. So what do I want to do? My answer (coincidentally) came today with this posting on Facebook (another activity I need to moderate):


Make sure you test positive for Faith

Keep distance from doubt

Isolate from fear

Trust God through all of it

These words bring me back to the Chinese parable. Whatever happens, good or bad, I will have faith that, as the hymn says:

It Is Well with My Soul

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

May you find peace within your soul,

Cass Rulon-Miller

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