There was a farmer who owned a mule. Now throughout the years, the mule helped the farmer by hauling dirt and rocks and whatever else the farmer needed moved from one place to another. One day, the mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' (or whatever mules do when they fall into wells) and eventually found him in the well. 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 neighbors together and told them what had happened ...and 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! But as the farmer and his neighbors 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, shovel full after shovel full. "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 how distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking off the dirt and stepping up!
It wasn't long before the old mule...battered and exhausted...stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his seemingly dire fate.
If we face our problems, respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity, the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us. The older I get, the more convinced I become that EVERY adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit...It ALL depends on how we face them.
'Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.' 2 cor 6:4-10