Column: Shake off the dirt and step on up


Commentary by Michael VandenBerg

How do you face adversity? Do you give in, sit in a corner and wait for it to end? Do you blame others in hopes that it will make you feel better, but find it never does? Do you sink into depression and simply let the negative situation take over? However you respond, I want you to know that you always … yes, always, have a choice in the matter. While none of us can determine what life will send our way, we all have the choice to determine how we will respond to what comes our way. God made us creatures with freedom to choose, and a free will to decide.

The fatalist will tell you that it is all settled and there is nothing you can do about it. The optimist will tell you that everything will work out; giving the impression it is all an illusion. A Christian however will show you that no matter what comes their way, there is one who loves us so much that they will always be there with us, seeing us through both the good and the bad.

I heard a story some time back that illustrates my point. A farmer owned an old mule that fell into a dry well and was unable to get out. After much thought, the farmer decided that it was just too dangerous and that neither the mule nor the well were worth the trouble of saving. The farmer called his neighbors and explained the situation. They all decided to help fill the well and put the suffering mule out of its misery. With the first shovel of dirt hitting his back, the mule began to panic and cry out all the more. After a few more shovels full the mule shook the dirt off his back and stepped up. With each shovel full of dirt the mule shook it off his back and took one step higher until he took his last step and escaped the well.

What seemed like it would bury the mule actually became his salvation, all because of how he reacted to the adversity and trials that came his way. That’s life! If we face our problems, respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness or self-pity, the adversities that come to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us!

Jesus said, “I have come to give you life and give it abundantly”. Trust Him.