Shovel full after shovel full of dirt went into the wheelbarrow. Loaded wheelbarrow after loaded wheelbarrow was pushed down the muddy hillside toward my front yard. Finally after all these years I was doing something about the over grown hillside beside the house. At the same time, I was also fixing another persistent problem with the extra dirt. The low spot in the front yard that always transformed into a small pond after a good rain would be no more.
As hard as it usually was to drive the fully loaded wheelbarrow down the steep hill where I was digging, this particular day presented an even tougher challenge. The project area had taken on a large amount of rain the day before and the hillside and more so the base of the hillside had become a muddy mess. Before every running trip down the slippery slope I would pray, “God please help me to not slip and fall. Please help me to not get hurt.”
A couple of hours into the grueling work, I noticed I began digging in some heavy clay soil. It was much harder to shovel and move and I decided because of the added weight, it was wise to not fill the wheelbarrow quite so full. Like the dozen or so trips beforehand that morning, I said my prayer and away I went, running behind the heavy load. But this trip down the hillside ended abruptly when the front of the wheelbarrow caught in the ground, flipping the wheelbarrow upside down. How I stayed on my feet and did not get hurt could only be described as an answered prayer but that didn’t stop me from getting angry.
I will be honest, I was more fearful before this trip than I had been previously. Every other trip I had completely trusted in God to keep me safe and even though I was not hurt when the wheelbarrow flipped over, I felt He had let me down. I was now starting to doubt. I was shaken.
I soon realized my anxiety, my fear, and my anger were for nothing. I ran behind the wheelbarrow with ease as it glided over the freshly laid clay that covered what was a muddy mess. Not only had God kept me safe when I fell, he had actually prevented me from falling in the future. Of all the loads of dirt I had taken down the hillside that morning, only one load contained hard clay. And that one load of clay couldn’t have dumped in a more perfect place. It doesn’t matter how much it rains now, the base of the hill is solid ground.
When I first began working that morning I realized that the base of the hill was going to be a problem. I stopped on a couple of occasions to gather rocks and I threw them into the mud. Even though my efforts may have possibly helped a little bit, those efforts didn’t compare to how God fixed the problem.
Life is a muddy mess. Life does not always go like we had planned. We can throw rocks into the mud hoping our efforts will help us not to slip, or we can trust that God is in control. We must be careful to not get caught up in this life. We must be sure we don’t try to do it on our own. God knows the mud you have been in and He knows where you are going. He knows how hard it is to push that heavy wheelbarrow. He knows how easy it is for you to slip. Sometimes a struggle or a difficulty can anger or frustrate us but after the pain and heartache ease up we often realize God was only trying to put us on solid ground.
As I prayed about writing this blog this morning God gave me Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”