Shake Off The Dirt, and Step Up
by Helen Dowd

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." Psalm 37:23 & 24.

I once hear a story about a mule that fell down a dry well. Because he was heavy, the farmer couldn't think how he was going to get him out. He called in a few neighbors to see if together they could pull him out. They all looked at the task and scratched their heads. This looked like an impossible job.

Finally one of the farmers suggested, "You know, neighbor, that mule is old and useless, and you wanted to fill up that well anyway. Why don't we all pitch in and help you. You would be completing two tasks in one, filling up the well, and burying the old beast."

So the farmers, all armed with shovels, began throwing dirt into the well, on top of the poor old mule. The mule began to panic. But not for long. Suddenly he stood up and began shaking off the dirt and trampling it under his feet. Each time a shovel full of dirt fell onto his back, he shook it off, and stepped up. Hour after hour the dirt was thrown onto his back. He just shook it off and stepped up. Before long the well was almost full. The mule was nearing the top. He could see the light of day. Calmly he stepped over the side of the now, nearly full well, and walked right by the farmers. While the men who had planned to bury him looked on in amazement, the mule meandered out to the field and began nibbling on succulent grass.

This is a good object lesson for those of you who sometimes feel like the dirt of life is being shoveled onto your backs. You feel you are being buried in trouble. Your bills are piling up. The cost of living is skyrocketing. You have just been given the pink slip (or as they say in some places, your job has become redundant). Your car needs repair. Your children are sick. Your spouse has just walked out on you. You have been caught in the middle of some sort of scandal... I'll leave the list open. You can add your own bit of "dirt".

And then, as if that were not enough, people start throwing accusations at you. You are at your wits' end. Where is God? Why doesn't He come and pull you out of the well? You are beginning to panic, just like the mule in the story. But don't let despair get you down. Do what the mule did. Shake off the dirt and step up. And when you finally reach the top, you can look your tormentors in the eye, walk past them, and carry on with your life, enriched by the experience.

Psalm 37:1-9--"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity...For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb...Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed...Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart...Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass...And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday...Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devises to pass...Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil… For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth."

When the world is turned against you,
And you're sinking in despair,
When your life is filled with trials and with stress,
When it seems there's none to help you,
And no one seems to care,
Look to Jesus. He can bring you happiness.

When the devil comes to plague you,
Or he's caught you in sin's snare,
When he says that he will never let you go;
Then just turn your back on Satan.
Simply leave him standing there.
Christ is waiting. He will snatch you from your foe.

We can either give up and let our circumstances bury us, or we can shake off the dirt and step up.

© Helen Dowd

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