No That’s Good
One of my favorite children’s books—a fun read for both parents and kids—is That’s Good, That’s Bad by Margery Cuyler.
The normal response to the things happening to the little boy main character is “Oh, that’s good!” A trip to the zoo. A red balloon. A timely happenstance. But the narrator explains at every point, “No, that’s bad!” Disaster follows on the heels of what seem like smile-worthy provisions.
In some ways, it’s a pessimist/optimist story.
I have water in my glass. Oh, that’s good. No, that’s bad. Half of it is gone.
We have a house. Oh, that’s good. No, that’s bad. The lawn needs mowing, the basement leaks, the wallpaper in the kitchen is peeling, and did we mention the property taxes?
Despite the too-frequent news of layoffs, we have jobs. Oh, that’s good. No, that’s— Well, it’s good, but it also leaves little time for fun.
My friend retired this year. Oh, that’s good. No, that’s bad. She didn’t want to.
Two different perspectives on the same issues.
The children of Israel saw that curiosity of human (and divine) nature in the account of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night during their exodus from oppression in Egypt. The Bible tells us both the cloud and fire were protection and guidance for God’s people. “Oh, that’s good!”
To the pursuing Egyptians however, the same elements were “No, that’s bad!” Exodus 14:20 says of the supernatural cloud, “It was a cloud and darkness to (the enemy), but it gave light by night to (God’s people).”
Same cloud. From one perspective, it represented darkness and confusion. From the other, light and protection.
What made the difference?
On which side of the cloud they were camped.
AUTHOR QUOTE: What God puts in our path may at first seem like a negative. But when we view it from His angle, from His viewpoint, when we make camp on His side, it becomes a reason to exclaim, “No, that’s good!”
“And the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these; so that the one came not near the other all the night,” Exodus 14:19b-20 KJV.
Today’s devotional is by Cynthia Ruchti, writer/producer of THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME radio ministry and president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Cynthia’s debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—releases with Abingdon Press May 1, 2010–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtZb0by984g. Cynthia writes stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark (www.cynthiaruchti.com).