You might have heard the story of the donkey that fell into a well. I think it’s a good illustration of the way to handle obstacles. They can either bury us or we can make them stepping stones to be lifted to higher ground.
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, so he figured it wasn’t worth to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They each grabbed a shovel and began to pitch dirt into the well.
At first, the donkey made horrible noises. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer decided to look down into the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer and his neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up.
Pretty soon, to everyone’s amazement, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
We can either be buried in the obstacles of life or we can shake them off and for every problem take a step up. Let the obstacles lift you, not bury you!
If you are a Bible-reader the Old Testament story of Joseph is familiar to you. He was just a teenager when his brothers threw him in a well! This young man could easily have let the obstacles bury him. Not only did they throw him in a well; then they decided to sell him to merchants that were on their way to Egypt.
Joseph didn’t let the obstacles bury him!
God was with Joseph in the midst of his troubles. But he was falsely accused and ended up in prison. In prison he was forgotten and could have easily given up when the “dirt” of obstacles was falling on him, but he rose above his circumstances. In due time he was lifted high. Pharaoh put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt and said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt” (Gen 41:44).
In one way or another we have these experiences of being in a well.
Jeremiah the prophet was once lowered into a cistern full of mud, so that he sank down into the mud (Jer 38:6). Why? People didn’t like what he prophesied! But he wasn’t left in the well. God made sure someone pulled him out.
The names Joseph gave his sons were a testimony of his resilience. (See Genesis 41:51,52.)
- God had made him forget his troubles. He named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”
- God had made him fruitful. He named his second son Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.
This is my word of encouragement today. Use the obstacles to lift you and not bury you.
I have a friend who feels she is at the bottom of the well. She sees no way out! My heart goes out to her. I wish Don Moen’s song could inspire her:
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way
God will make a way. If you’re in a well, let the obstacles lift you. Even in that seemingly hopeless situation, God can make you fruitful.
Don’t be buried. Be lifted!