Yesterday, for the first time—if you can believe it—I heard the parable of the old mule who fell into a dry well. At the bottom of the well, the mule brayed and pawed and kicked, trying to free himself from the pit that seemed his doom.
The farmer came to the edge of the well and looked down. In the dim light, he saw the plight of his mule. Too heavy and uncooperative to lift out, he decided to gather a few neighbors to help him bury the tired, old critter in the well.
When the first shovelful hit the mule’s back, he trembled and shook the dirt off. As each shovelful fell on his back and neck and head, he shook the dirt off and stamped it down with his hooves. Before long, he noticed that, instead of being buried alive, he was actually getting closer to the top of the well!
After several hours and many shovelfuls of dirt, the animal’s head popped up over the edge of the well, and with some effort, and to the relief of his erstwhile undertakers, the exhausted mule stepped out from what had at first seemed to be the end of him.
We can shake off difficulties, opposition, and trials, and use the aftermath to step it up, to move to a higher place than could otherwise be possible. I don’t believe God would permit trials in our lives if they did not fill an eternal purpose. Thanks to this old story, I now have a new mantra: “Shake it off and step it up.”