The Emperor’s Dirt
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28 HCSB
A man named Nahum of Gamzu would always say, no matter what happened, “This too is for the best”.
The people of his village wanted to send a gift to the emperor. They decided to send Nahum because Nahum (with his cheerful disposition and evident rapport with God) had witnessed many miracles. He was sent with a saddlebag full of precious stones and pearls.
On the way, he stopped overnight at an inn. The innkeeper crept into his room while Nahum slept and emptied his bag of its precious cargo and replaced the jewels with earth. The next morning, Nahum discovered the change but simply said, “This too is for the best!”
When Nahum arrived at his destination, and bags were opened, they were found to be filled with dirt. The emperor thought the people of Nahum’s village meant to mock him and ordered Nahum’s death. Again, Nahum exclaimed, “This too is for the best!”
One of the emperor’s ministers whispered into the emperor’s ear, “Perhaps this is magical earth. It is said that when Abraham threw earth against his enemies, it turned into swords, and when he threw stubble, it transformed into arrows.” It just happened that there was a province the emperor was having a terrible time conquering. So the superstitious emperor ordered a stay on Nahum’s execution and had the dirt carried to the recalcitrant province. His generals threw some of the dirt at the enemy before attacking and then quickly defeated them.
The emperor has so overjoyed that he took Nahum to the royal treasury. The emperor had Nahum’s bags filled with precious stones and pearls, and then sent him home with great honor.
When Nahum arrived at the inn where he had stayed before, the innkeepers asked him: “Why are you being treated with such honor?” Nahum explained, “I brought only what I had in my bags when I left from here.” The innkeepers took some of the earth to the emperor and said to him, “The earth that was brought to you before belonged to us.” The emperor had the earth tested in battle, but God did not allow the enemies to be overcome this time and the innkeepers were put to death for insolence.
God can take the “dirt” that shows up in your life, those things that you tend to think are difficult, uncomfortable and unworthy, and make wonderful things happen through them. He can take your frustrations and turn them into character traits like patience, faith or longsuffering. But you have to trust Him. Look at each circumstance and tell yourself “This too is for the best.” Ask yourself what you can learn from this. Search for God each time and He will make Himself known to you.
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