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This morning I was wrestling with a piece of firewood that would have defied the strength of Samson! (Well, he might have just managed to split it with a lucky strike….. but he wasn’t around.) The piece was so hard and the wood so knotted. Sharpening the axe would have had no effect. Sometimes of course, that’s the thing to do. Says the Book: “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed; but skill will bring success.” In other words, don’t work harder, act smarter.
But the smart thing to do in this instance was to admit defeat and walk away. (And dream of revenge when that great lump of lumber would be consigned to the fiery furnace – made seven times hotter just for the occasion.) The smart thing? Yes. Says another part, in that same Book of Ecclesiastes: “What is twisted cannot be straightened”. In other words, there are some things that cannot be conquered, mastered, solved… at least by a human hand.
Ecclesiastes of course is not an instruction manual for woodcutters, but for those who are trying to negotiate their way through life with a little more nous and care. And so I mused: Sometimes I need to work smarter, and to not be content with a blunted edge. But sometimes I need to hand situations and people and circumstances over to God, and admit that it is beyond my human ability to resolve the knot and split the block.
DM 4th June 2022