I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lessons from Aesop



by Delores Topliff


Writing becomes classic when it contains a timeless truth that is applicable forever. Great examples come from Aesop's Fables. Here his "Wind and Sun" is loosely adapted from http://www.storyarts.org:

The North Wind boasted of his great strength. The Sun argued that he had greater power. Far below, a man wearing a warm winter coat traveled a winding road.

"Let’s have a contest," said the Sun. "To test our strength, "let’s see which of us can make
 that man remove his coat."

"That's simple," bragged the Wind. He blew as hard as he could, but the harder he blew, 
the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat.

Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud and warmed the entire world until the man
unbuttoned his coat. The sun kept shining brighter and brighter until the man felt so hot, 
he took off his coat.

My grandchildren love that tale. They used to complain if I changed a single word, but 
I’ve taught them to compose variations on that theme and retell their versions. Though 
we know where the story’s going, we all enjoy its new details every time. Timeless wisdom suits 
Faith and Fiction. 

In a parallel as powerful as sunshine, Romans 8:35 asks, “"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" --incidents as chilling as cold wind and hot sun. No!

Yet too easy a life can be the separator. Romanian pastor, Nicky Popp, reports his people grew strong during communist persecutions, often miraculously surviving events that should have caused certain death. But after arriving in the U.S. as refugees, they lost some members to prosperity. “Persecution made us strong,” he says. “Easy living ruined many of our people.”

In faith and fiction, adversity faced and conquered makes us lean more on God--and deepens our characters. What about you? Do you prefer wind or sun? Why?


17 comments:

  1. Can I say neither? While adversity tempers us, being forged by the Master is painful because of our independent natures. And even though the closest I've ever felt to God was during a time He held me in His hands, I don't want to go through the fire.
    But if I had to make a choice, I'd say sun. I hate wind. lol

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  2. Like everything in life, wind and sun have their advantages and disadvantages. Wind can be biting and cold, but it can be refreshing and soothing. Sun can be hot and baking, but it can be warming and offer essential nutrients. Both work together for our good.

    Like Pat, I don't want to go through the fire either...it's painful! I'm just so thankful knowing I'm not facing life's trials alone. With the support of family, friends and the love of God, I can use those life lessons in other areas of my life such as parenting and caregiving and writing.

    Great post, Dee!

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  3. It's fine to say neither, and yes, we usually feel closest to God (and often others) during hard time. Here's to learning needed lessons as easily as possible so they don't have to become hard lessons for us to gain essential life lessons. And then they can breathe through our lives, families, friendships, writings. Thanks and blessings to both of you.

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  4. Dee, what a great post and a thought provoking question. :) The hard times of life definitely push me closer to God, depending on Him to give me wisdom and bring me through. God seems to work in multi-faceted ways during trials, that leave me in awe of Him. The "easy-life" can leave me complacent and living independently. So, though I don't look forward to the trials, I know that God will show Himself faithful and will deepen my character, making me look more like Jesus.

    I like the wind when it's gentle and the sun when it's softly warming my skin. Either in the extreme can raise the complaints in me. :) Love your post, Dee!

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  5. Thanks so much, Jeanne. You get plenty of both in Colorado, and they become so tangible, they almost become characters in the story lines! (And in our lives.)

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  6. I'm getting the point at which I have to give everything into God's care and trust that whatever happens is for my eternal best.

    I once saw a quote that startled me. "God is less interested in my temporary comfort than in my eternal well being." (loose paraphrase). I didn't like that at all because I like comfort.

    But the lesson is slowly being absorbed that ease brings complacency and complacency keeps me from growing spiritually. This physical life is brief and quickly gone, like a vapor. What comes after is what will last.

    I would hope someday to be able to say like the Apostle Paul that his trials were temporary inconveniences. A tough thing to do.

    A very tough thing.

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  7. I haven't thought of that story for years!

    I take comfort that when trials come, and they come, God is there walking beside me. I just trust with all of my heart. He is there.

    Great post, Pat.

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  8. What a beautiful example, Delores, and GREAT food for thought. Especially when tied to spiritual truths. I believe I need both. Winds of change and adversity strengthen us. We resist the bad and flow with the good, like a good workout. The sun...well, we always need the Son. :)

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  9. I appreciate all comments. Come to think of it, God is the warming sun (that can get a little hot sometimes), but also the wind that moves us forward. Hmmm--I hope always to embrace both.

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  10. Dee-loved this post! I prefer the sun! I agree with Carrie, sometimes it's so hard to rely on God for his eternal best. I like comfort, too. But I know I grow and stretch more when I have something eating at me and need to constantly give it back to God.

    Donna, love the sun/Son play on words! :)

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  11. Dee, as always, your post is thought-provoking. Before my car accident, I loved the winter snow and disliked the hot summer sun. However, since the accident, the cold and stormy weather of winter seems to make the pain and stiffness much worse, while the summer sun seems to help me feel better. So, I think our preference might depend on our season (pardon the pun) of life. As far as the relationship of persecution vs. ease to our walk with God, I would have to agree with Pastor Popp. It was my biggest trial that brought me closest to God, and even after six years of pain and frustration, if given the choice, I would not go back and undo it. That car accident was the greatest gift God ever gave me (besides His son!) Thank you for the reminder!

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  12. Thanks for responding, Amy & Heidi. I know you've both had hardships that have added great depth and texture, though now I'm praying bright sunny skies over both of you (including highly successful book writing).

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  13. Having moved to Nevada, I have a new appreciation for wind. Instead of a storm that leaves wind and rain, mother nature must spend most of her energy pushing it over the mountains and past us by using winds of greater than seventy MPH. If you go up to the crest of the mountains around Tahoe, it will get upwards of 110 MPH or more. That being said...I'll take the sun.

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  14. Great post! I prefer sun...don't we all? But ive come to appreciate the wind storms in life. I can look back and see how hard times brought me closer to the Lord. But that's when I discovered how faithful He is and that He keeps his promises.

    Thank you for the reminder!!

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  15. Great post, Dee!

    As a Florida gal, I prefer the sun. But the wind sure makes hot days more bearable. Adversity changed me and gave me strength I didn't know I had. I'm a better person, so I wouldn't want to go back to who I was. I only wish the cost hadn't be so high.

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  16. Hmm, being an Iowan, I feel like I SHOULD say wind, just because we get so much of it in our open spaces. :) But I love the sun...I could sit out reading in the sun for hours...and have...and usually get the sunburn to show for it. :)

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  17. Thanks. There are some great comments here. Since I teach college World Geog., too, I'm taking note. Winds above 110 mph near Lake Tahoe? Wild! Right now Israel is having super storms, but they're thankful that the Sea of Galilee's water level is back up to where it needs to be after around 10 years of drought--same principle.

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