short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Things Are Not Always What They Seem To Be

The story below has run around the Internet for some time. The author, as far as I know, is unknown. Still, the story is worth the telling.

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel, "How could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him," he accused. "The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die."

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied. "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem."

Similarly, God's answers to our prayers and the ways in which God provides for us may seem obtuse to us at the moment that they occur. (See, for example, the total misunderstanding of God's seeming inaction when a farm couple encountered difficulties, recorded in the short story, "When All Disappears.") In the long run, when the future unveils that which we do not know at the moment, we find that no matter what we had prayed for or hoped for, in the final analysis God knew best!


  1. That is such a great story, thank you so much for sharing it.

  2. Amen...God always knows best....

  3. Good story and a good reminder. But, I hate it when I don't undrstand.

  4. I read this story a long time ago. It's such a great one though and it's a great reminder too to trust God because He does know what's best.

  5. Very good reflection for my heart! Thanks for re-telling this story and for the reminder that "things aren't always what they seem." So glad for the One who sees it all!


  6. Many thanks, Elaine, Lynda, and Grayquill, for your comments.

  7. Oh what a neat story, Elizabeth. I had not read that one--so I loved it. It's definitely true that things are never as they seem.... We all just need to trust God that things will all work out for the best... It's all about trust and love and keeping a joyful attitude throughout life.


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.