One of my favorite movies is "Fiddler on the Roof." In it, Tevye, a Jewish dairyman with five daughters in late-czarist Russia struggles to maintain his traditions as the world changes around him.
Early in the film, as he is making his last Friday deliveries, his horse pulls up lame and Tevye must yoke himself to his dairy cart while his horse walks beside him. While pulling the cart, Teyve looks heavenward and says,
Dear God. Was that necessary? Did you have to make him lame just before the Sabbath? That wasn't nice. It's enough you pick on me. Bless me with five daughters, a life of poverty, that's all right. But what have you got against my horse?Really, sometimes I think, when things are too quiet up there, you say to yourself, "Let's see. What kind of mischief can I play on my friend, Tevye?"
Sometimes, I feel a little like Tevye.
In the commotion of life, I'm often moments away from a much-needed rest when the Lord decides to play a little mischief on me. It happened after I graduated from BYU when despite excellent grades I couldn't find a job. It happened when instead of going back to BYU or the University of Utah for law school, I ended up at Baylor. And I can feel it happening now.
Since the day we came to Baylor, my wife and I have looked forward to returning permanently to Utah. And lately, I've been feeling very Utah-sick. It's October 21 here in Waco, and it was 88 degrees. The leaves on the trees are still green. But in Utah, I'm told, the air is crisp. And the mountains are a mosaic of fall foliage. It snowed yesterday.
I miss Fall in Utah!
But I don't think I'll see a Utah Fall for some time. Even though I interviewed for several positions in Utah this summer, that horse has pulled up lame. And now I find myself yoked to an unexpected burden.
Yet I know that what at first blush seems mischievous is really part of a better plan. For no matter how well-thought-out my plans are, the Lord's will is always best. Sometimes, it's His will to test my patience and faith. (See Mosiah 23:21). Thus, it's my privilege to "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord," as hard as it may be. (See Mosiah 24:9-17).
And Christ has promised rest to those who are yoked to life's struggles. He said,
So, like Tevye, I must yoke myself to my cart and move forward knowing that I'm not pulling alone. For a Sabbath awaits. It may be in the Fall of Utah's mountain valleys. Or it may be the rest which comes only after a life well-lived.
But a Sabbath awaits.