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Sometimes the Impossible Must Be Done

Yesterday I met a farrier (one who puts shoes on a horse). I guessed that he probably had some good stories to tell so I asked if he would share one of his best with me. He agreed and shared the following:
I was asked to shoe a particularly stubborn mule. When I first approached the animal, he would take off running just far enough to express his defiance. I tried all the usual tricks to create a relationship between me and the mule without success so I knew I was going to have outsmart this animal somehow.
The most acute sense for mules is smell so after I managed to rope him, I got a sweaty shirt from the laundry, put it over his head and pulled his ears out of the arm holes. I wanted him to be aware of me as I prepared him for the next lesson. I proceeded to attach one end of a fifty foot rope to each of his front legs and tied the other end around an oak tree. Once I was confident the ropes were secure, I took the t-shirt off his head and untied the rope around his neck.
The mule looked at me then defiantly took off running. About the time slack came out of the ropes attached to his legs, I yelled out, “Whoa!” The mule’s legs came out from underneath him and he collapsed to the ground. He picked himself back up, snorted and looked at me as if to say, “How did you do that?”
He still wasn’t ready to give in, however, so he took off running in the opposite direction. Again, just as the slack came out of the ropes, I yelled out, “Whoa!” Again, the animal’s front legs failed him and he crumpled to the ground. This time as he stood he looked at me with respect. He wasn’t sure how I was able to do what I did but he figured he better cooperate.
We laughed together and then I asked him, “What would you do with a mule who absolutely refused to cooperate? Would you ever choose to not shoe him?”
He simply said, “You can’t do that. Sometimes it seems impossible but it has to be done anyway. You just stay at it until you figure out how to do the impossible.”
His statement reminded me of Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 “. . . the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.”
Like many of you, it has been a particularly stressful year. Finances have been a challenge. Demands have been high. There have been many weeks when I have said, “I don’t think I can do everything that needs to be done this week and I am not sure how this circumstance is even going to work out.” My new friend’s words were a good reminder to just stay at it and seek for wisdom. Though I may be “weighed down by misery” today, there is a proper time and procedure to do the impossible! I will discover it if I ask God for the insight and outlast the obstacles.

One Response

  1. Dear Bill,
    Thanks for this blog and for pointing me to Ecclesiastes 8:5,6. I needed the reminder that we have the Wisest God and all things are possible for Him! I can hang in there waiting for what seems impossible because He has “a proper time and procedure for every matter.”

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