I got this by email from a cousin of mine. He and I do not see eye-to-eye on many things, but we are very close on the things that are really important. One of which is your attitude toward the tough times in life. How you handle adversities and obstacles. Here’s the parable he sent me:
A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s dry well. The farmer heard the mule “braying” or whatever mules do when they fall into dry wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither that mule nor the dry 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, as the dirt landed on him, the old mule was in a panic! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt continued to hit his back, a thought suddenly struck him. It dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he could SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, shovel full after shovel full. “Shake it off and step up…shake it off and stand up…shake it off and stand up!” he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the dirt was when it hit his back, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought “panic” and just kept 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! The situation that seemed at first like it would bury him actually blessed him …all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
That’s how life is! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity. The tough parts of life that come along, don’t come to bury us. Instead, they come to benefit and bless us!
If the dirt hadn’t fallen on him, he would not have been able to climb out! If he had not handled each shovelful of dirt with the thought of overcoming it, he would not have been able to climb out! We need our adversities, we need our challenges, we need our obstacles. How we handle them, and what we become because of the way we handle them, is very important.
Look what we find in the first chapter, second verse of the Book of James:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jas 1:2–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
It is not where we are at that counts, some say, it is how far we have come. Another way to put it, is: “Get up one more time than you’ve been knocked down!”
Or, in mule talk, “If you ain’t been down in the well, don’t be braggin’ about being on dry land.”