By Ken Stalls, BCM/D President and Pastor of South End Baptist Church, Frederick, MD
I once heard a story about a farmer who had a very old mule. On one fateful day, the poor mule stumbled and fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard his old mule frantically braying (or whatever mules do when they fall into a well). When the farmer arrived at the well and looked over the dire situation, the poor farmer sympathized deeply with his much loved old mule, but had no idea how he could help. It suddenly burdened the farmer that this well, which had not been used in quite a while, should have been filled in long before this tragedy occurred. After talking things over with some neighboring farmers who had heard the mule’s crying and had come to check the situation for themselves, the farmer decided to put the mule out of his misery and fill in the well at the same time. They all began to bring extra dirt to the site and to fill in the well.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical, but as the farmer and others continued to shovel in dirt, as it landed on his back apparently the old mule had an idea. The mule decided that every time the dirt came raining down on him, he would just shake it off and step up. He did this shovelful after shovelful. He would shake it off and step on the new dirt, shake it off and step on the new dirt. The mule shook off the panic and used the dirt that was intended to bury him to provide him with a solution to his frightening dilemma.
It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered, bruised and exhausted, stepped up triumphantly until he had escaped his intended grave. What had at first appeared to be the source of his destruction and death, actually became a source of his blessing and deliverance. His adversity never changed, but the manner that he faced and handled it did change drastically.
That is the way life works, isn’t it? If we face our problems and respond to them positively and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness or self-pity, everything changes. The adversities that come our way that intend to bury us usually also have the potential to benefit and bless us. Forgiveness, faith, prayer, praise and hope are all excellent ways to “shake it off, and step up” to the victory that our Lord has prepared for each of us. Why not try it?
Thank you so very much for the continued pleasure, blessing and joy of serving as president of our convention. May March bring you all of the blessings that our Lord has prepared for you, even if some of them are being temporarily covered up with that which appears to be for your harm.