There once was a certain farmer who owned an old mule. The mule had served the farmer well for a good many years. One day the mule fell into an old well. When the farmer heard the mule braying he searched diligently until he discovered the mule at the bottom of the well.
After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. 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 thereby putting him out of his misery.
When the farmer and his neighbors started shoveling dirt into the well the old mule became hysterical as the first dirt hit him on the back! Suddenly it dawned on him that every time dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up. When the next shovel full of dirt struck him he shook it off and stepped up. Blow after blow struck his back. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up,” he repeated to himself for encouragement.
At that point he thought about how nice it would be to lay down and rest from the onslaught of dirt being thrown into the well. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought off the thought about rest by repeating to himself, “Shake it off and step up…” He couldn’t allow himself to “panic” so he just kept right on, “Shake it off and step up…”
It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of the well. The dirt that was to have buried him actually blessed him because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
How this story parallels so many lives. Those that face their problems and respond to them positively by refusing to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity come out of the well that they have fallen into.
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28a). We often suddenly realize that He has poured out a blessing on us because of a trial.
Our part is to remember that we must show Jesus in us through each and every trial. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23). If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) “Shake it off and step up…”out of the wells in which we find ourselves!
Those that trust Jesus with their lives will one day step out of the world over the wall into the higher place where we can join our Master as He rejoices with us in the victory made possible because of His love. Every believer’s desire is to one day hear the Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”