Has pain ever tempted you to wish your days away? Years ago, one of George MacDonald’s short stories struck me. I could relate to the boy in the story who wanted to speed through the hard parts of life.
While I don’t remember the name of MacDonald’s story or its details, I’ve tried to capture its essence in the story below. If you recognize the story, please let me know the title. I’d like to read it again!
There once was a boy who complained a lot. He wished he could speed through the boring and painful parts of life. An old woman appeared to him. “I’ve heard your complaining and brought you a gift.” She placed a ball in his hand that had a small string sticking out.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“When your life is miserable you can pull the string to fast forward through the hard and unhappy parts. But I warn you. Only use it if you must.”
The next day the boy found himself wishing his boring day at school was over. When the teacher called for a pop quiz, panic clutched his stomach. Then he remembered the string and the old woman’s warning. It won’t hurt to try it, he assured himself. How else will I know how it works? And what good is it if I don’t use it?
He studied the string and gave it a small tug. Bam, school was over. He laughed as he played with his friends. He skipped home. His mother heard the door slam and called, “Remember your chores.” The boy groaned. Then he remembered the string. One more small tug wouldn’t hurt.
A Wish Becomes a Habit
Before long the boy forgot the old woman’s warning. He pulled the string more and more often. He didn’t like his teacher one year. Why not skip that school year all together? He married and began his family. But the responsibility of providing for them weighed on him. The baby was colicky and kept him from a good night’s rest. He pulled the string.
In middle age, his children were more self-sufficient. His career was better established, but his country was in turmoil. And there were rumors of war. He stared at the ball. One more pull.
He woke up with the flu and reached for his ball. He experienced conflict with his business partner and pulled the string. Now he was retired. Ahh, the golden years. But his hip and back ached. When his wife came to him in tears holding a letter, he absently reached in his pocket and pulled the string. The string ended—and so did his life.
George MacDonald’s lesson still sobers me. I don’t want to wish away or waste away my life. Every breath is a gift. Let’s fill our days with purpose for the glory of God.
Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14 NLT) Don't wish your life away. Seize the day! #valueLife Click To Tweet
Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14 NLT).
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