PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake and the Pot-Belly Bully (Part 3)

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  (Prov. 17:22)

A few days later it began to rain.

It was a cold, steady rain that began in the morning and rained all day and all night. Finally, by morning it had changed to a drizzle with gray skies and a cold north wind.

Mama let me outside, and I had to hop over the puddles just to get out to the bushes. It was then that I heard the squealing coming from the back field.

There are several low spots in the grassy field that will flood after a heavy rain, and there is one especially big spot right in the middle of the field that becomes a mud pit.

I ran around the side of the house and toward the back to find out what was making that frightful noise.

And then I saw Rambo.

He had fallen into the mud pit and gotten stuck. All that you could see was his head sticking out of the mud and he was squealing with all of his might.

Chester was standing in the doorway of his barn watching the terrible sight and Marvin was sitting on top of his branch pile. They turned and looked at me as if they didn’t know what to do.

I never slowed down, but ran as fast as I could toward the back gate. As I got close to the gate I jumped with all of my might, and as I sailed through the air and over the fence I yelled “All for one.”

The sound of our club motto seemed to wake up Marvin and he yelled back “And one for all” as we sloshed through the water and mud to get to Rambo.

When we got to the pig, he was struggling and sinking deeper in the mud.

“Be still Rambo and let us pull you out,” I said.

Marvin wrapped his tail around the pig’s nose and I grabbed his ear with my teeth and we pulled as hard as we could but couldn’t budge him.

We needed Spots and his strength but Spots couldn’t get through the fence to help. Suddenly I had an idea.

“Do you still have that rope?” I asked Marvin. “I sure do!” he said.

“Great, you get the rope, tie a loop on each end, and I’ll be right back.” I looked at Rambo. “Don’t worry,” I said. “Just try not to move. Everything’s going to be alright.”

I ran to the barn to get Chester.

“Chester!” I called as he stepped out of his barn. “I know you said that you were too old to be a part of The Rescue Club, but we need you. Rambo needs you.”

Chester looked out at Rambo stuck in the mud. Perhaps he was thinking of a time when he was tied to a tree and somebody came and helped him. “What can I do?” he asked. “Follow me,” I said.

Chester and I got back to the mud hole just as Marvin finished tying the last loop in the rope.

“Marvin,” I said. “You climb up on Chester’s neck and put one end of the rope around his horns and I’ll put the other end around Rambo’s head. When we’re set, Chester can start walking backwards and pull Rambo out.”

I took my end of the rope in my teeth and gently placed the loop over Rambo. Looking up, I saw that Marvin had his end around Chester’s horns.

“Pull Chester,” I yelled. “Pull with all you’ve got!” Chester pulled as hard as he could and Rambo began to come out of the mud hole.

Chester’s hooves began to slip in the mud, so I grabbed the middle of the rope with my teeth and pulled while Marvin held onto Chester’s neck for dear life.

With a slurp and a POP! Rambo came out of the mud pit and lay on the wet ground.

As we stood there out of breath, Rambo looked up and said, “Why? Why did you help me after all of the mean things that I did to you?”

“Because you are one of God’s creatures,” said Chester. “And we’re supposed to help one another.”

“The Creator wants us to treat each other the way that we want to be treated,” said Marvin.

Rambo stood up, grunted, shook the rope off and ran through the mud and the puddles back to his house.

It might have been from the drizzling rain, but I thought I saw a tear in his eye as he turned to go.

The next morning the rain had stopped, the sun was bright, the air was cold, and the wet ground had frosted over.

It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. As I ran outside I had one thing on my mind, and that was to tell Marvin and Chester how proud I was of them.

I turned the corner to run to the back, and what I saw made me come to a sliding stop.

There was Rambo, sitting at the back gate with his head lowered and glaring at me. Over to the side, Chester was peeking out through his barn door.

I glanced toward the branch pile and I saw the sunlight sparkle off of Marvin’s two little black eyes behind the branches.

I didn’t know what to expect, so I crouched down and walked slowly toward the pig. Rambo was the first to speak.

“Jake,” Rambo grunted.

“I need to ask you and the others to forgive me for the way that I’ve been acting. I know now that I was mean and rude and acted like a bully. I’m very sorry, and I hope that you will forgive me and we can be friends.”

By this time, Marvin and Chester had come out and were standing beside us. “Of course we’ll forgive you,” Marvin said. “All we ever wanted to do was to be friends anyway.”

“You know,” Rambo said. “Everything I told you was a lie. I’m not a prize-winning pig with people that wait on me hand and foot. I’m just a lonely pig that lives in a pen all by himself.”

“The people that own me treat me well enough, but I would look across the field and see you all playing together and having fun, and I guess I was jealous. I thought you wouldn’t like me because I was different.”

“Where I came from, only the biggest and meanest pigs that pushed the others out of the way got what they wanted. I thought that if I treated you that way, you would be afraid of me and look up to me.”

“But you showed me that’s not the way the Creator wants us to treat one another, and I’m ashamed of the way that I’ve acted. If you let me be your friend, I promise never to act that way again.”

We all touched noses as a sign of friendship. Rambo left then to go back home and he said that he wouldn’t be coming back. He knew that it was wrong to leave his pen, but he said that we would always be friends and if we ever needed him that he would come right away.

From then on, Marvin would visit Rambo every night while he was out doing his wandering and they became great friends. Marvin said that he didn’t want Rambo to ever be lonely ever again.

Not long after, I was lying by Dad one evening while he and Mom were reading their Bibles. I began to think of how God had a plan for Rambo all along.

Only God knew how lonely and sad Rambo was, and what it would take to change his heart. I had to smile as I thought of how smart and wonderful our Creator is.

He knows that one kind deed can change a person’s life forever.

Not even a great big pot-belly bully has a chance against love and forgiveness.

Next- LIVING BY GRACE

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