All of God’s creation is good, if it is received with thankfulness. Every gift is a good and perfect gift, when it is received with thanksgiving. If you doubted whether it came from God, or whether it was a good and perfect gift, have you dared to make the test?
When the easy play of happiness beckoned you, have you thanked God? And when you were so strong that it seemed you needed no assistance, have you thanked God? And when your allotted share was small, have you thanked God? And when your allotted share was suffering, have you thanked God? And when your wish was denied you, have you thanked God? And when you must deny yourself your wish, have you thanked God? And when men did you wrong and offended you, have you thanked God? We do not say that the wrong done you by men thereby ceased to be a wrong, for that would be an untrue and foolish speech! Whether it was wrong, you must yourself decide; but have you referred the wrong and the offense to God, and by your thanksgiving received it from Him as a good and perfect gift?
Have you done this?
Then, when what happens is wonderful in your eyes, you will gain courage to understand that every good and every perfect gift is from above, courage to explain it in love, faith to accept this courage.
‘The fairy-story that succeeds is in fact not a work of fiction at all; or at least no more than, say, the opening chapters of Genesis. It is a transcription of a view of life into terms of highly simplified symbols; and when it succeeds in its literary purpose, it leaves us with a deep indefinable feeling of truth …’
C.M. Woodhouse, 1954 introduction to George Orwell’s Animal Farm
‘No one’s life flows on such an even course that it does not sometimes come up against a dam and whirl round and round, or that people never throw stones in the clear water. Something happens to everyone, and he must take care that the water stays clear, and that heaven and earth are reflected in it.’