As I was driving home from work today (half day), I was thinking about the fact my meeting with Prof X still hasn't happened, which means I still can't get into the Educational Leadership program (although that may still be the outcome even after the meeting), and also remembering other times in my life where I felt like I had been knocked down into a deep pit. (Depressing driving apparently, right?! It is a longer commute than I would like, but I get to have think time, music time, etc.)
As these thoughts were rolling through my mind, I also remembered the inspirational story of the donkey (or some such animal) thrown into a deep pit by the other animals who didn't like the donkey or think it had any value to society. Forgive my poor recall of the fable, but hopefully my point will remain clear for those of you reading this blog as it was for me, even if the tale isn't exactly as it was told in the original form. Anyhoo (LOL)....the donkey spent time at the bottom of the pit, growing in isolation and fear of dying alone. The pleas for help and a hand up out of the pit went unanswered, but not unnoticed. The other animals decided it was time to shut the donkey up for good and end the complaining and misery, so they start shoveling dirt down on top of the donkey, intent to bury him alive. They dropped in loads of dirt, one shovel at a time, and yet were surprised when the donkey suddenly emerged at the top of what had once been this deep pit/prison.
The other animals were not sure what to make of this turn of events. They were certainly in disbelief, having expected the donkey to be dead and buried rather than alive and on top of the world again. When asked what happened, the donkey responded that for a time he had been stuck in the muck and mire and misery of being trapped at the bottom of the pit, hopeless and alone. No jumping or attempts to climb worked and nobody was offering assistance. However, with each new shovel full of dirt, the donkey shook itself off and took a step up. Every drop of dirt was shaken off to become part of the donkey's path to freedom. What the animals had meant for evil, the donkey used for good. The other animals celebrated this unexpected miracle and the donkey was welcomed back into the fold of the animal kingdom. (Happy ever after kind of fable if memory serves.)
This is true for God's people too. What others or Satan mean for evil, God can use for good. We may find ourselves at the bottom of a pit, surrounded by darkness, alone and trapped by fear or self-pity. Yet, each instance of dirt being dumped down on our heads can be used to "step up" as we shake ourselves off, maintain our focus, and patiently wait until there is enough dirt to fill in the hole without burying us alive. I certainly feel like I've had a season trapped at the bottom of a pit and still struggle with some feelings that I can't climb out alone. The reality is I'm never alone as a child of God and He will show me the way to freedom. If God is for us, who can be against us?! The climb out of the pit...the journey for freedom...starts with a change on the inside. The donkey believed he could use the dirt thrown down to bury him to climb up and out of the pit. I need to believe that who/what has thrown me into a pit and covered me with dirt can be used for a change of heart and mind - that I would find inner strength to be about God's business and the changes I want for myself too.
Romans 8:28 says, "and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." The other verses that have been referenced in idea are Romans 8:31 and Genesis 50:20.
Thanks for reading and praying! :)