The Mud Between Your Toes!

A Muddy Adventure

A Muddy Adventure: A Horror Story of a Young Boy “Stuck In The Mud”–

A Horror Story Of A Young Boy “Stuck In The Mud”–

Kids do some pretty stupid stuff and call it an adventure.  The year was 1952, and I was invited by two friends… to go on a frog hunt.  How could I say NO to such an expedition; although I had no idea what I would do with ‘dead frogs’!

One of my friends had taken an old broom handle (about 5-ft long) and nailed a spear-fork on the  end–then find a frog and stick it with this magnificent Ozark frog spear.  The three of us then would ride our bicycles over hill and dale, riding against oncoming traffic on a busy California freeway .

WHY? There was a fishing/frog pond on the other side of the highway railing that was sure to be hiding… a 10-lb. frog–hey, I was a 10-year-old boy who had a vivid imagination!

There wasn’t much water in the pond during the summer, but plenty of cat-tails and tall saw-grass surrounding the stagnant water.  All three of us carefully crawled through the fencing, pulling the bicycles through after we were safe on the other side.

IT WAS TIME TO GO FROG HUNTING!

Edge of the MUD Pit

Edge of the MUD Pit

After spending forever  finding any frogs, we decided that just maybe…if one of us could wade out a little ways in the small pond, then someone on the pond’s edge could float the “frog-gig” out to one of us.  Perhaps then–we would be successful and if nothing else, brag to all those back home on how the biggest frog we ever saw got away.  I VOLUNTEERED and grabbed the end of the broom handle.

As I carefully waded out into the shallow, algae covered pond, and I quickly noticed– I had become embedded into the mud bottomup to my knees.  I couldn’t move and was stuck in mire.

At first, I was confident, that my situation was conquerable, but then…confidence soon left.  “HELP”, I yelled.  “I’m stuck in the mud.”  I heard a friend’s voice close by:  “Throw the frog-fork back to us and we will pull you out.”  What a brilliant idea I thought as I hurled the boy-made spear on to dry land.  But in turning around to heave the projectile, I sunk deeper into the muck.  I yelled out to my friends, “I think it is ‘quick-sand’.”  It’s amazing how a young boys minds can play tricks on him.  And you know, the same occurrence can happen in adult minds.

To make  a long story longer, the guys pulled me out of the mud safely by using the manufactured frog-sticker and after returning home I had a great story to tell the neighborhood (definitely NOT my parents), along with the evidence of dried mud– from my toes to my thighs.

An Adult Horror Story of Being Stuck in The Mud–

The prophets in the Old testament  all had this one thing in common“turn or burn.”  It wasn’t a very popular message with the people in Jeremiah’s day nor is it a popular message in churches today.  After all, we certainly don’t want to be repugnant to any visitors on Sunday mornings , do we?

Don’t ‘shoot the messenger’–

In reading the story of Jeremiah’s ministry I found something troubling that happened to him–troubling for us 1000’s of years later:

JEREMIAH 38:1-6 NIV–

SHEPHATIAH SON of Mattan, Gedalia son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah was telling all the people when he said,  [2] “This is what the LORD says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live.  He will escape with his life; he will live.’  [3] “And this is what the Lord says” ‘This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’  [4] Then the officials said to the king,  “This man should be put to death.  He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in the city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them.  This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”  [5] “He is in your hands,”  King Zedekiah answered.  “The king can do nothing to oppose you.”  [6] So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern [dungeon; pit] of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard.  They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.”

We break in on the story that is outlined more completely in the previous chapter.  We see what the people did when they didn’t like the message.  When the message isn’t to our liking, the tendency is to ‘shoot the messenger.’  And Jeremiah got caught in the cross-hairs, so-to-speak.

Looking where JEREMIAH ended up–In the Mud!

An Ancient Cistern

An Ancient Cistern

JEREMIAH was put into an empty cistern-maybe even an empty well.  After the city being besieged for a some length of time, the city’s source of water storage had run dry!  But whatever the case, the bottom had revealed some unpleasantness.  Down there, where Jeremiah found himself, was a horrible slimy pit!

Probably all of us have been in slimy mud at some time in our lives.  Fortunately, Jeremiah didn’t have to stay in that predicament for very long:

Jeremiah 38:7-13 AMP–

[7]  Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian [a Cushite], one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon or cistern pit; and while the king was sitting in the Gate of Benjamin,   [8] Ebed-melech went out of the king’s house and spoke to the king, saying,  [9] My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, who they have cast into the dungeon or cistern pit; and he is liable to die of hunger and is [as good as] dead in the place where he is, for there is no more bread left in the city.  [10] Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying,  Take from here thirty men with you and raise Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon or cistern pit before he dies.  [11] So Ebed-melech took with him and went into the house of the king [tp a room] under the treasury, and took along from there old rags and worn-out garments and let them down by ropes into the dungeon or cistern pit to Jeremiah.  [12] And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah,  Put now these old rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the ropes.  And Jeremiah did so.  [13] So they drew up Jeremiah with the ropes and took him up out of the dungeon or cistern pit; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.”

WHAT ARE YOUR ‘MUD HOLES’, YOUR ‘SLIMY PITS’?

We ALL have them.  We all have those places let down into life which are not as pleasant as we would like them to be.

WHAT ARE YOURS?

— Maybe it’s your health–it isn’t what you would like it to be.

–You might have an ongoing or developing health condition to be lifted from you or you’d like to be lifted out of the mud pit, as Jeremiah was.

— Maybe your ‘mud pit’ is some family problem or problems that plague you!

— Your ‘slimy pit’ might be that of too few dollars at the end of the month–this is a common one in these days, for several reasons and not all of your own making.  You’d like to be lifted out.

— Maybe your ‘mud-hole’ is a poor teacher you have at school, you want to be out of that class to a better teacher.  You know you’ll be lifted out at the end of the school year, but that seems like a long way off, yet.

— Your pit might be older age–the ‘golden years’ that have tarnished and you hadn’t anticipated that to happen.

— Perhaps unemployment or underemployment is your ‘cistern’, your ‘dungeon’.

I know that you’ve at least one ‘pit’ that you are in–we all do!  We ALL have the mud between the toes; we’ve had themwe will have them–they are part of our lives.

How do you feel about your ‘pit’, and how well are you handling your ‘pit’ of trouble?

I’m sure you wish for someone to come along like they did for Jeremiah–somebody like Ebed-melech and remove you–lift you completely out of the MUD!  I was sure glad when one of my 10-year-old friends helped me get out of the ‘slimy’ mud-pit.

Some dungeons are pretty awful–I know that all to well: “too few dollars, unemployment, sticky family situations and much more.  You wrestle with doubts sometimes in the dark of night, in the privacy of your own thoughts.  Sometimes you doubt God and wonder about Him, why you’re in this muck and mire.

Psalm 34:18 says,  “The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.”

He Looked Up!

All Jeremiah could see from where he was at was a circle of blue!  

He looked down from where he was, and watched the mud ‘squishing’ between his toes, wondering how he had ended up at the bottom of a slimy pit!

We’ve Got to Start Looking Up–Right From Where We Are!  It’s A CHOICE–

Some things we can learn from the bottom of a pit– the best view from where you are is UP.  Or, the other choice is to glare at the mud at the bottom.  But that’s depressing.

You can also focus on the stark, barren walls that surround you in life.  But, the footholds aren’t there and that’s discouraging.

And the choice of looking up can help you to see God in all His glory, with His outstretched hand.  You know too often, God is an afterthought in the good life.  When everything is going well–great job, healthy kids, loving spouse–you figure you deserve it.  After all, you’re a nice person, you’ve worked hard all your life.  And God doesn’t really enter the picture outside of the ‘mud-pit’.

Sometimes things take a turn for the worse!

This is in order for us…many times,to discover the truth.  David acknowledged in Psalm 121:1-2:

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence shall my help come?” 

“My help comes from the Lord,  Who made heaven and earth.”

And so, if being in the pit teaches us to rely on God continuously, then it’s a cheap lesson.

IN THE MEANTIME…WE SOMETIMES ENJOY THE MUD BETWEEN OUR TOES and ALL OVER!

The WORD DETECTIVE in 1943

The WORD DETECTIVE in 1943

It’s easy when you are in a pit, looking around at the dark walls, and down at the murky bottom and think:

—  This is it, things will never get any better.  I might as well just give up and die!

—  The health care system is the “pits”; my child won’t get the care he deserves!

—  The economy is the “pits”; I’ll never get another job!

“Poor me, Whoa is me!”

That is the sound of mud oozing between your toes–you keep on, keeping on, wallowing in [verbally confessing] it.  In fact, you can even get use to the darkness, the mire, the slime–  telling everyone who asks you, “How’s your life treating you?”  You respond…”I’ll be fine, thanks for asking.”  And under your breath, “I wish people would just leave me alone.”

“Look Up” and see the blue sky!

You can look beyond the bottom of the pit, beyond the prison walls–see where you could be and should be.  Visualizing what it will be like out of the pit, walking around enjoying the sunshine, getting on with life.  You can’t dwell on the negative forever–well actually…you can!

“Look Up!” at the “WHATEVER s”–

Paul says something that has given me courage down in the mud:

“Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]”  (Philippians 4:8 AMP).

Remember, it could be worse!

As Jeremiah found out by looking up, you learn who your friends are or who they aren’t.  Who in your life is your Ebed-melich?  When your down…when things are the ‘pits’…find out who your friends really are.

The philosopher William Nelson once wrote:

You’ll Always Have Someone

And if you ever find,  That fate is unkind,

An’ the devil starts takin’ his dues.

When your fair weather friends,

Leave when fair weather ends,

There’ll be someone waiting for you.

And if there are no friends waiting for you at the top of the pit, keep in mind Jesus’ words:

“I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing.  But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father”  (John 15:15).

The PROMISE given in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,    Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of god which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I don’t know your pit, but I know our God:  “…be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  [I will] not,  [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)!”  (Hebrews 13:5 AMP).

Getting the Picture Yet?

God didn’t forget Joseph when his brothers had left him a pit…

God didn’t forget Daniel in the pit of a lion’s den…

And He won’t forget you, no matter how deep and dark your pit seems.  So, it’s time to LOOK UP!

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2 thoughts on “The Mud Between Your Toes!

  1. Mel, This is a great story and an awesome analogy. I’ve been learning a lot recently on the power of our thinking and Philippians 4:8 has been etched on my heart too. To think of how the mud sucks us in is eye-opening to what our negative thinking can do. And yes, sometimes we need good friends to help pull us out! Thanks for a great post as always. Blessings, Amy

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