Over the last while I have noticed that there are a lot of people who are going through difficult times. Whether it’s family issues, financial issues, emotional issues or spiritual issues, people are being bombarded with different trials and adversities.
People handle adversity and trials very differently.
James 1:2-4 tells us that we should “consider it pure joy . . . whenever we face trials.” I don’t know about you but “joy” is not the first word that comes to mind when I think of adversity and trials!
But a lot of time, actually all the time, if we will actually admit it, we are stronger and better people after we have faced a trial in our lives. The key is how we handled it. Take this parable for example:
A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule braying – or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbours together and told them what had happened. He enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! (Wouldn’t you be with dirt being flung on you?) But as the farmer and his neighbours continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.
“Shake it off and step up . . . shake it off and step up . . . shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!
Well, it wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THE WELL! What seemed like would bury him, actually blessed him . . . all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
And how often does it hold true in our own lives? Sometimes, it’s not easy to see that silver lining. And often, to see it, we need to look at the adversities we face from a completely different angle.
How are you handling adversity in your life? Are you letting it bury you and get you down? Or are you shaking it off and stepping up and looking for the blessing that may come out of it?