When the Mule Won’t Drink
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. (Isaiah 1:3) And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again. (Numbers 22:25)
GOD MADE MAN TO BE THE SMARTEST AND NOBLEST OF HIS CREATURES, but sometimes God chooses to use an animal more than the man. Isaiah tells us that the lowly ox knows its master and the donkey knows that he eats out of his master’s grain crib. But sometimes, the exalted human being is dumber than an ox; dumber than a donkey. The man is at his dumbest when he thinks he can outsmart God. It is a great mystery.
WHEN I WAS ABOUT FOURTEEN, I was sent to Grandpa’s barn to bridle a mule that had not had water all day and it was noon. I rode the mule bareback to the water barrel that was filled with a trickling stream from a mountain bluff. The mule obediently went to the barrel and stood with his mouth a foot above the fresh water. I expected him to immediately thrust his mouth into the water and begin pulling up the water in big gulps.
IT WASN'T HAPPENING. All morning without water and he just stood there. I waited a good while and spoke to him: “Drink!” “Drink, Boy…I’m going to take you back to the stable and I won’t be back till late this afternoon! You better drink, now!” Nothing. Being a resourceful teenager, I scooted over the hump of his shoulders and scooted onto his neck, so I could lean over the top of his head. He didn’t complain or react to my strange behavior.
I WAS SITTING ALMOST ON HIS HEAD. I leaned over and put both hands on top of his head and pushed his nose down into the water. I could look down the front of his head and see that his nose was in the water. Surely, he would begin to drink. (What is the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?” I was seeing that there are, indeed, horses that do not want to drink after they have stood in the stable a half-day.” Why a horse would not want to drink after a half-day was beyond me.
WHILE I WAS THINKING THAT OVER, suddenly, without warning, that mule had run out of breath and he had a desperate need to breathe. He jerked his head up out of the water and the top of his head hit me in the mouth, HARD! Pain! I instinctively brought my free hand to my mouth and wiped my mouth with my hand. Blood! My hand was covered in blood! No mirror. I knew my lips were split, but I didn’t know how bad. My eyes teared up from the savage blow. Obviously, it didn’t hurt the mule.
A WAVE OF ANGER CAME OVER ME. If only I had had a big stick, I would have laid it on that mule! A heavy stick, that wouldn’t break. I’ll show this old mule a thing or two. And just as quickly, I realized that the mule hadn’t asked me to hold his nose under water ‘till he was desperate for air! I was ashamed of myself. Bloody mouth or no bloody mouth, this old mule didn’t deserve a beating. I cooled off, gently slid off the mule and took hold of his reins and led him back to the stable and checked his feed box to see if he had anything to eat.
IN A FEW DAYS MY MOUTH HAD HEALED, and the old mule was back to eating and drinking water. But, I had gained something that day that would last me a life time. Sometimes, mules are smarter than a hurried-up teenager. That was seventy years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. God taught me something that day.
BE PATIENT! DON'T BE IN SUCH AN ALL-FIRED RUSH that you forget to observe the nature of situation you may not understand. You are going to have hard-to-understand things, unexpected things to happen in your life. Be careful about rushing into a dumb reaction, trying to get on top of the situation.
SECONDLY: EVERY HARD THING YOU ENCOUNTER is going to teach you something you could not learn from easy things. A famous poem says it this way:
“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”
― Robert Browning Hamilton
LIFE IS SOMETIMES HARD. And, life is even harder when we ignore the claim God makes upon us as our Creator and His right to have first place in our lives. I must admit that the mule that would not drink, taught me something I could never have learned from a book or from a dedicated teacher. I believe God ordained that incident in my life to teach me something I could not have otherwise learned. God was merciful to me in giving me a few minutes alone with that simple mule. He was a great teacher!
THINGS ARE WHAT THEY ARE, AND THE SMART PEOPLE work hard at understanding the truth of that in every life situation.” If a mule will not drink, there’s a good reason why he will not drink, and my best decision is to back off and be patient with the mule. He will, at some point in time, drink again. Patience is the better part of wisdom in many situations. Patience is one of the important pillars God wants to be firmly in place in our personality.
WE LOOK FOR THE COMING OF CHRIST when struggling and suffering will cease. We are told: For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:36-37) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
AUGUST 3, 2018 – FRIDAY
A.M. Psalms 70-72 P.M. Romans 4
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A Good Verse to Memorize:
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13) (Write verse on scrap of paper and put in your pocket to memorize.)
Song for Today:
I Believe in Miracles (3:32) (Melody Four Quartet)
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