"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
Bruce Shelley retells a parable in "Perfect Illustrations for Every Topic and Occasion" about an old dog that fell into a farmer's dry well. The farmer evaluated the dog's circumstances and the condition of the well, and although the farmer felt sorry for the dog, he decided that neither the dog nor the well were worth the trouble to recover. Instead, he began to fill the well with dirt, bury the old dog, and put him out of his misery. As the farmer began shoveling, the old dog was initially panic-stricken and fearful. But, as the farmer continued shoveling and the dirt fell onto the dogs back, the old dog would shake off the dirt and it began accumulating at the dogs feet. The old dog soon learned that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step onto the additional dirt. Shovelful after shovelful, the old dog would shake the dirt off of his back filling the well and raising the floor of the well. No matter how much pain he experienced from the impact of the dirt and no matter how stressful the situation seemed, the old dog fought losing self-control and just kept shaking it off and stepping onto the additional dirt. Battered and exhausted, the old dog eventually stepped victoriously over the wall of the well. What seemed as though it would bury him actually benefitted him, all because of the way he handled his adversity.
Perhaps we could compare our trials to this old parable. Sometimes our trials seem endless and undeserved. We get tired, want to hurt back, compromise our convictions or simply throw in the towel. But instead of giving in to discouragement, resentment, retaliation, or compromise, which could result in making our situation worse (bury us!), we could faithfully turn to God in prayer and remember that adversities that come along to bury us usually have the potential to bless us. As we courageously keep on demonstrating forgiveness and refuse to give in to self-pity, God will help us to endure, grow stronger, overcome the trial, be trained in righteousness, and eventually restore our joy.
Posted on Mon, August 8, 2011
by Dave Jones