A cloud of dust followed the pickup truck as it rounded a corner on the gravel road in the hill country of northern Wyoming. Rushing water in the nearby creek ushered snow melt into the valley below. The rancher woman pulled to the edge of the road and climbed out of the truck. She shielded her eyes from the setting sun as she peered toward the creek.
Shaking her head in disbelief, she walked the fifty or so feet to the bank of the creek, took off her boots and rolled up her jeans. She stepped into the sparkling water, filling her cupped hands to splash her face, enjoying its cool, cleansing relief.
She surveyed today's task. It appeared much the same as yesterday's and the day before that and the day before that. For several weeks a battle had waged between the rancher woman and the beaver. Each day the beaver built a dam across the creek, causing the creek to back up and overflow its banks. As days went by, a trough of water traveled to the road, eroding the surface vehicles needed to traverse. This was not acceptable.
Walking over to the dam, the rancher woman began pulling the beaver's sticks out of the dam, tossing them as far as possible in every direction. The process continued for several minutes until the dam was torn apart in her determination to protect the road she and others needed to travel. This was the rancher woman's routine at the end of each day.
Each following day the beaver patiently searched out and gathered those far flung sticks to rebuild his house, simply doing what beavers do. The day the rancher woman dragged the largest tree limb clear across the road, he was not deterred. He retrieved the log and firmly lodged it in the midst of the dam.
As summer wore on, the waters of the creek receded. The day came when the dam no longer caused the creek to overflow its banks. That day the rancher woman pulled to the side of the road as usual. When she surveyed the creek, a smile lit her weary face. The battle was over. Nature had brokered a peace accord.
In our lives, we often find ourselves in the role of the beaver. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we do what we know we should, but our peace and tranquility is often disrupted - perhaps even totally torn apart - by circumstances beyond our control.
God plays the part of the rancher woman. In His omniscience, He disrupts our lives (or allows disruptions) to fulfill His purposes for our good and the good of others. Often His purpose is beyond our understanding, but He expects us to trust fully in His loving care and wisdom as we pick up the scattered sticks of life.
Do we respond like the beaver? Do we do what dedicated followers of Christ would do? Often we whine, complain and even rant - to ourselves, to our spouses, to our co-workers and even to God Himself. We sit and pout, unwilling to make the effort to continue on - to persevere. We expect others to fix our problems. We desire a miracle from God to smooth the way. We want anything except the persistent regimen of another day of putting the "sticks" back together again.
Doing daily what we know to do, regardless of life's circumstances, is what the Christian walk is all about. God's Word tells us to be joyful when we have trials because they will produce endurance and build our faith. (James 1:2-4). When we apply diligence to our faith, it produces the by-product of perseverance, making us
fruitful for God. (II Peter 1:5-8)
Tomorrow - and the day after that, and the day after that - consider applying the lesson of the beaver. Faithfully do what you know to do. Gather those scattered sticks and rebuild.
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