Do you remember the story of the ant and the grasshopper? It’s a fable by Aesop about an ant who worked hard storing up provision for the winter and a grasshopper who danced the summer away. It is a tale meant to teach a moral, and it does. Don’t waste the good times because hard times are a-coming. I wonder if we can say the same about not wasting hard times?
My husband pointed out that today is mid-winter, halfway point between winter solstice and the vernal equinox. (I’ve never heard of a play titled “A Mid-winter Night’s Dream” have you?) Obviously the hay is not growing much in these fields near our home and the snow is a bit deep for dancing. Since I am not fond of winter sports and in my lifetime have broken three bones slipping on the ice, I have to work on my attitude toward winter.
The blue-tinged snow and mountains are pretty, I’ll grant you that. In an effort to be always thankful I have also noticed that winter also tends to be the most productive time in my life as far as getting caught up with paperwork, writing, studying, sewing, mending, and inside house repairs are concerned. It’s a time for planning gardens and perusing seed catalogues. It’s a time of waiting and preparing for prosperity. Apparently the Hebrew word for waiting has at its root a picture of braiding a rope. Farmers, fishermen, artisans, and folk festival musicians all need time to get their acts together. Sitting by the fire braiding rope is a good picture of this.
We have been taught to think that we must use good times to prepare for hard times, but I wonder if hard times are not there to help us prepare for good times. Prosperity can be even more difficult to manage well than want. Some, like the ant, live in fear and cannot allow themselves to dance when the evenings are warm. Others, like the grasshopper, accomplish nothing more with their abundance than spending it on their own pleasure. Very few who find themselves with abundance in the form of power know how to handle it wisely — thus the expression, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I believe the Lord prepares his most trustworthy servants with long seasons of harsh winter to get them to the place where they don’t need sunshine and flowers to live in a place of contented joy. They will not be dependent on ideal circumstances to allay their fears or give them freedom to dance.
For those trained by adversity to trust in God, every day is a beautiful day.