Stuck in the Mud

“Christ is no Moses, no exactor, no giver of laws, but a giver of grace, a Savior; he is infinite mercy and goodness, freely and bountifully given to us.” —Martin Luther (1483-1546)

In the eyes of a Parrot

Hi folks.

Paprika Parrot—sitting cocky as can by at the top of the page—is hounding me about telling something funny he saw in Africa. Now what you have to understand is that he sometimes gets mixed up in his facts.

He thinks that he got to go to Africa last year, but what really happened was that my brother Bud (nick name—real name Clement) took a long trip to Africa, and then came to our house and spent a whole week telling us all about it, and showing hundreds of pictures. But Paprika Parrot claims up and down that he went along too—only no one saw him! I’ve told him he’s mixing up his dreams with reality but… well… I guess I’ll humor him—this once.

“All right Paprika, come sit here beside ma and tell uswhat you found so funny.”

“No, I want to stay up here. I feel more important here.”

“Now don’t take on airs, Paprika or you’ll turn us all off.”

“Nonsense. I want you to interview me for your blog friends. They’ll see me better up here.”

“Fine. So where do we start?”

“In Africa, of course.”

“Where in Africa.”

“Congo, naturally

“Where’s Congo?”

The country right in the middle of Africa.”

“OK so now we know. And what did you see?”

“Too much to describe, but I will say the scenery was incredible.”

“How well I remember.”

“Yeah, I know, you lived there when you were a little girl, and so did your brothers. And so did my ancestors.”

“Right. But now how about getting on with what you thought was so funny.”

“It was the trip inland.”

“OK! Here we go.”

“They’re paving lots of roads nowadays… but there’s still lots of dirt roads”

…like here. They probably look the same as when you were a little girl.”

“Totally. How well I remember those red dirt roads.”

“Now watch the road as we near Kafumba…

“Oo-oo! It’s getting a bit bumpy.”

“I’ll say. The guys in the back are getting a bit of a shake.”

“And now this is where the big trouble begins. It doesn’t look too serious, yet, but keep watching.”

“Looks like the wheels are spinning.”

“Yup, and the harder they try to get out of the mud, the worse things get.”

“Advice is given to get some greenery.”

“So did you help?”

“Me. Are you kidding?”

“You probably didn’t want to get your pretty feathers dirty.”

“You’re right. I am, after all, a parrot. I’m better at giving advice anyway, than getting involved.”

“I’m glad you’re aware of the fact. Obviously they’re doing a good job though, of putting down all that greenery by the tires.”

“Yup. And meanwhile a fellow comes along on his bike and offers to help.”

“Good for him.”

“Yeah, neat guy.”

“Altogether now. One, two, three, Push…”

“Wait everyone, let the pedestrians get by.”

“What a mess”

“Man is it ever hot.”

“What’s this a praying mantis in the middle of it all? A reminder to pray no doubt?

“They didn’t need a reminder, I can promise you.”

“I’ll bet this fellow’s sorry he ever volunteered to help.”

“Good fellow! Good fellow!”

“Another great guy… and this is going to do the trick.”

“Altogether! A last big PUSH..!”

“And they’re out. No stopping now till all is clear.”

“The car’s moving.”

“And when it was all over the folks at Kafumba treated us all to the most sweet and juicy tropical fruit.”

“Now that was indeed funny. But tell me, are you sure you went along?

“Well… no. It’s my way of getting you to tell about it.”

“You naughty little bird, I think…”

“Sh’h-h. Don’t lecture me. I was just trying to help you out.”

“I’ll have to admit, it was quite clever of you old Paprika. But what’s the moral of this story.”

“I’ll leave that to you.”

“All right. Now let me see what comes to mind. Yes, in fact it’s not too hard to think of a few points here. You know Paprika, sometimes it seems like when we try to do the right thing everything goes wrong, or else we get stuck in the mud of despair or discouragement. Even Asaph, a Bible hymn writer, once wrote about a time when he felt that people who did bad things, or were dishonest in their work and in the way they treated others, had everything go well for them, while those who were thoughtful, honest, generous and kind, had nothing but trouble.

“He wrote in Psalm 73 how he felt, but then he added, “Until I went into the sanctuary.” In other words he took his questions to God and laid them all out before Him. There—in God’s sanctuary or presence— God reminded him that it’s those who do wrong who are the ones who are on slippery ground, in fact, they’re slipping and sliding down “the pit of destruction.”

“King David also wrote in Psalm 40 how God had helped him when he was down in the dumps. He wrote, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings. And he put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.” He was no longer stuck in the mud but was up and running again.

“So the point is, that when we find ourselves slipping into the mud and clay or think we’re up to our armpits in trouble, we have only to call on God, explain our situation, and ask His help. He’ll be there to get us up again so that we start feeling like we’re walking on solid rock.

“Another point here is the example of the young fellow passing by who stopped to help even though it meant hard work and getting all muddy. People like that really encourage others and let’s be sure to follow his example ourselves.

“One last point: Our life’s pathway may seem at times like an endless trail of hurdles and difficulties, but at the end of our journey—if we truly are one of God’s believing children—we will receive a wonderful welcome in our home in heaven with delights we now cannot imagine. There’s an old hymn that I think says it beautifully.”

At times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,

We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;

But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,

All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.

Refrain

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,

Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;

One gliimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,

So bravely run the race

Till we see Christ till we see Christ.

Sometimes the sky looks dark  with not a ray of light,

We’re tossed and driven on,  no  human help in sight,

But there is one in heav’n who know our deepest care,

Let Jesus solve your problems,

Just go to Him in prayer.

Refrain

—Esther Kerr Rusthoi

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