After the rain stops, the draining continues, though it slows to three or four tributaries and eventually two larger “rivers.” One runs through the front yard, between the bird feeders, down around the house, across the septic drain field and off the property. Another slants southeast through the PVC pipe culvert Keith installed under the road twenty-nine years ago, down the berm on the top edge of the garden and on east.
Usually within a couple of hours most of the water has drained, but puddles still fill a few low areas, and you learn where and how to walk for the next day or two. On sandy land, the puddles dry up quickly, unless it’s the second weekend in a row with a four inch toad strangler.
We learned early on to avoid those low spots for several days. We first met one of our neighbors when we asked him to pull our car out of the mud with his tractor at least three times in one week. Two months ago, for the first time in many years, he had to come down and do it again. I knew what had happened when, after two deluges in one week, I heard that truck engine roar and looked out the window to see the back tires spinning and mud flying ten feet behind them.
When you are stuck in the mud, you can’t move. The wheels may rotate but all you do is dig ruts and uproot grass. The harder you press the accelerator, the deeper the ruts and the less you move. Even rocking the truck back and forth becomes impossible.
Sometimes we get stuck in the spiritual mud. It comes first with complacency. We are happy with what we know and where we are, so we sit down, clasp our hands, and contentedly lean back with our feet up on the desk. Proverbs speaks of the results of being a complacent “sluggard.” Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come as a robber, and your want as an armed man, 24:33,34. Tell me the same thing won’t happen when we stop working on our spirituality.
It isn’t just a matter of continuing to learn, though that is important. An older woman in one of my classes has expressed appreciation for the new things I teach her. “At my age it’s hard to find something new,” she said, “but you have given me that and it’s wonderful.” Yes, the older you are, the more difficult it should be to find something new to learn, so you certainly cannot sit back and fold your hands in slumber—you must work even harder to find those things and they will be even deeper than the “first principles,” and require yet more thought and labor.
But it is also a matter of progress. I see people who haven’t changed one whit in thirty years, who still fight the same battles, who still fail the same way again and again. I see people who still gossip, who still judge unfairly, who are still oversensitive and too easily offended. I see people who still have their priorities upside down instead of finally learning the higher value of the spiritual over the carnal. I see people who have come no closer to mastering self-control than when they were young and foolish—they just become too weary to go at it in their old age and that is all that has moderated their passions.
So today, check to see where you stand—or wallow. Are you stuck in the mud of worldliness and pleasure? Are you glued in the mire of wealth and possessions and financial security? Are you floundering in the quagmire of man’s philosophy and false theology? Pull yourself out and start moving again. If you cannot do it alone, call a neighbor to help. That’s why God put us all here together.
And when the storms come into your life again, use your head—stay away from the low spots. Find the high ground of spirituality and keep on climbing.
I waited patiently for Jehovah; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, And shall trust in Jehovah. Psalms 40:1-3.