Shake It Off and Step Up
A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule "braying," or whatever mules do when they fall into wells.
After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.
"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!
You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! that seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
THAT'S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity...THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! Remember that FORGIVENESS--FAITH--PRAYER-- PRAISE and HOPE...all are excellent ways to "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP" out of the wells in which we find ourselves!
As in nature and in the arts, so in grace: it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their luster. The more the diamond is cut, the brighter it sparkles, and in what seems hard dealings God has no end in view but to perfect our graces. --Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873)
Calamity is the perfect glass wherein we truly see and know ourselves. --Sir William Davenant (1606-1668)
As the sea is subject to storm and tempests, so is every man in the world. --John Donne (1572-1631)
Men think that God is destroying them when he is tuning them. --Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
On the top of those very billows which look as if they would overwhelm us
walks the Son of God.
--Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
"Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." Hebrews 12:1-3
SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP...Father, may those who read these words drive them deep into their minds, that when the next trial faces them, they endure it with new found strength and understanding. Help us to see you in ALL things.
"And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Let us enter into the reality of this scripture. Amen.
-- Gary Amirault