I almost went to college in Enterprise, Alabama. Actually, when I was a senior in high school, I was recruited to play baseball at Enterprise Junior College (as it was called then). Their coach had been a college teammate of my high school coach, and there was a connection, and they were wanting me to come down there and play.
Anyway, I was interested in the possibility of attending and playing there…until I visited. Enterprise is a quaint small town, which may be appealing to me now, but surely wasn’t when I was 17. The one thing I remember more than anything else, and it was one of the main reasons I didn’t want to go there, was the big statue downtown…of a bug!
More technically, it’s an insect. Not a famous soldier, not a former town mayor, not even a football legend, but a boll weevil. The distinguishing monument in the town square in Enterprise, Alabama is of an insect.
Of course you have to ask why, and so I’ll tell you. Several generations ago, most farmers in southern Alabama made their living planting one crop every year–cotton. That is, until the year that the dreaded boll weevil arrived and devastated the whole area. So the next year the farmers mortgaged their homes and planted cotton again, hoping for a good harvest. But just as the cotton began to grow, the insect came back and destroyed the crop again, wiping out most of the farms.
The few who survived those two years of the boll weevil decided to experiment the third year, and planted something they had never planted before–peanuts. And peanuts proved so hardy and the market proved so good that the farmers who survived the earlier attacks reaped so much profit that third year it enabled them to pay off their debts. They planted peanuts from then on and prospered greatly. It changed the small town of Enterprise forever.
Those farmers took some of their new wealth and erected a monument in the town square–to the boll weevil. They celebrated that which had almost destroyed them, because without it they never would have found the wealth of the peanut.
I’m not so sure I would advocate building any monuments, but it is helpful to recognize those things that come our way that may be difficult and challenging–even that almost undo us–but because of them, they make us stronger. Or, more specifically, the Lord uses those things to make us stronger in Him.
What might you have faced over the years that you counted as a curse at the time, only to look back and see how it turned out to be a blessing? What may be “bugging” you right now, but if you get a big-picture perspective, you very well might appreciate it? Like Joseph, you can perhaps say, “Man meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Gen. 50:20)
Count your blessings, even those that may look like pests. God is in control, and seeks your best, even when you can’t see it, and He can “work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) Even boll weevils.
May He bless you this week. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.