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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 and went to investigate. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well were worth the trouble of saving. Instead he called his neighbors together to help him haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was confused. But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. 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,” he repeated to himself. No matter how painful the blows or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept shaking it off and stepping up.

It was not long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well. The dirt which seemed like would bury him, actually blessed him—all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity. That’s a lesson for life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively—refuse to give into panic, bitterness or self-pity—the adversities that come along to bury us usually have with them the potential to benefit and bless us!

Don’t give up. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying. And God will help you if you just let Him.