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In my favorite prayer, one of the lines is “paralyzed by trial”. The point is to not be so when life’s inevitable storms, be them small or large wash, over you. The opening latch to my goat pen, which can mean the difference between mayhem and safety for me during milking season, will only operate if you are calm. If you are worried or rushed or have too many things in your hand, forget about it. You will not be able to get in or out. It must be treated with utmost decorum.
It is a daily reminder to me to step back amidst trials and think them through. Either they are issues I can deal with – temporary problems – or issues that I must entrust to God. Either way impatience and worry will not help me solve the problem. When I think about it, being paralyzed by trials is rather a waste of time. It speaks of me not trusting in the God who made the universe – quite capable I imagine to deal with anything. And as I struggle with that trusting Him, I cannot get out of my worry and not see my way to a solution. Or I am trying to solve a problem I cannot. In a word, I am stuck in the milking pen. And surrounded by ferocious goats because they know that I am in there with the food. Goats will stampede over their newborns in order to get to the grain bucket I assure you. That is what trouble feels like when I can’t or shouldn’t handle it.
I think that to look at my trials in terms of the ‘patience latch’ adds another dimension necessary to life: humor. If I can laugh at my temporal trials (well most of them) and consign my unsolvable ones to God, then I can join with the woman in Proverbs 31: “she laughs at the days to come”. I wonder when goats, horses, dogs and cats will fail to teach me about my place in the universe. And it is humbling that so pedestrian a thing at a pen latch can teach me how ridiculous my worry and impatience is. But I thank the latch, for being paralyzed by trials is no fun situation to be in.